Mr Price still going strong

Tamlyn Stewart

Tamlyn Stewart

Consumers wanted something new every day in the last three months of 2008, according to clothing and homeware company Mr Price Group's trading update released yesterday.

During the third quarter of the group's financial year - October to December - the company recorded sales growth of 20,3percent.

The apparel division, which includes Mr Price, Mr Price Sport and Miladys, contributed 72percent of sales, and achieved healthy sales growth of 25,7percent.

Consumers were more cautious with their money and more affordable clothing retailers such as Mr Price benefitted from consumers' careful spending.

Mr Price Home and Sheet Street, which contributed 28percent of the group's sales, saw sales growth of 8,2percent. The group said its homeware division was affected by the reduced consumer spend on durable and semi-durable products.

"Homewares was a little disappointing because it slowed down from the first half. Mr Price Home didn't offer (instant gratification) - some curtaining for the house doesn't offer instant gratification, it's more long-term," said Vianello.

Analysts said if the petrol price cuts in December prompted consumers to spend that extra little on clothing, the Mr Price group was likely to enjoy continued spending from shoppers in January, following significant petrol price cuts early this month.