May 26, 2016 / 9:26 AM / a year ago

South Africa's Massmart sales rise 9 percent in first 21 weeks of 2016

JOHANNESBURG, May 26 (Reuters) - South African wholesale and retail group Massmart Ltd.'s sales rose 9 percent for the first 21 weeks of it's financial year despite a sluggish economy and a drought-induced rise in food prices, it said on Thursday.

Shares in Massmart, a unit of U.S. company Wal-Mart, rose 3.8 percent to 124 rand after it released the statement.

The retailer, which owns food wholesalers and wholesale building materials warehouses in Africa's most industrialised country and the rest of Africa, said it had opened seven stores during the three-month period to March 2016.

The firm said it plans to open a total of 13 stores this year, representing net space growth of 3.1 percent.

Massmart said it would deliver "a satisfactory performance for the six months" partly by implementing cost controls. (Reporting by Zimasa Mpemnyama; Editing by James Macharia)

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