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JOHANNESBURG, Feb 7 (Reuters) - South African retailer and wholesaler Spar Group posts a near 17 percent rise in sales boosted by retail and local liquor sales.
* Group sales rose 16.9 percent to 25.6 billion rand ($2 billion) for the 13-week trading quarter ended 31 December 2016.
* Spar's group retail sales gained 6.1 percent
* South African sales increased 5.8 percent despite being impacted by a slow-down in the building materials business, the company said.
* Liquor sales in South Africa remained robust, with sales growth exceeding 11.3 percent.
* Sales fell 2.6 percent for the Group's Irish business following sterling weakness and the strengthening rand, spar said
* Trading was difficult in Swiss business, SPAR Holding AG, that was acquired in April last year but the company said it remains optimistic that results will improve.
* Spar previously closed its distribution centre in Zimbabwe in November last year due to weak economic growth.
* By 1450 GMT shares in Spar fell 1.66 percent to 180.50 rand($1 = 13.4318 rand) (Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by James Macharia)