August 7, 2019 / 2:50 PM / 15 days ago

CORRECTED-S.Africa's Pepkor Q3 revenue up 12%, warns of volatile outlook

(Corrects para 4 to show the fintech, not building materials unit, grew in excess of 50%)

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 7 (Reuters) - South African retailer Pepkor Holdings on Wednesday said third-quarter revenue rose 12% thanks to Easter sales falling within the quarter this year, but warned the outlook was still volatile as consumer spending remained under pressure.

Retailers in South Africa have been struggling as consumers tighten their belts to cope with higher taxes, fuel and electricity prices, and unemployment.

In its statement, Pepkor said: “Sales volatility is expected to continue as customers have to contend with high levels of unemployment and increased cost of living in what remains to be an extremely challenging retail environment.”

Still, Pepkor, previously known as Steinhoff Africa Retail, said revenue at its clothing and general merchandise unit rose 9% in the quarter, while its furniture, appliances and electronics segment grew 11%. Its fintech business grew over 50%.

Outside South Africa, the company’s sales were affected by an economic crisis in Zimbabwe, which helped push sales down 0.7% in rand terms at its Pep Africa segment.

The company’s shares, which had been down more than 1% on Wednesday, regained some ground following the news and were 0.47% lower at 1413 GMT.

$1 = 15.0824 rand Reporting by Emma Rumney; Editing by Deepa Babington

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