Pharmacy group Clicks said Thursday that it plans to roll out 40 new stores in the coming financial year as a part of a R745 million capital investment programme.
The listed company said it is also working closely with government departments and organisations involved in the national vaccine roll-out programme.
"Clicks has a network of over 600 pharmacies and 192 clinics across the country, to support the programme, with capacity to administer between 600,000 and 700,000 vaccinations each month. To date a total of 62 Clicks pharmacies have been registered by the Department of Health to assist in phase 1 of the programme which involves the vaccination of healthcare workers," it said.
The group published interim results for the period ended February 2021, showing group turnover increased by 7.6% to R18.1 billion.
Additional reporting highlights include:
- Retail sales grew by 5.8% and by 3.7% in comparable stores, with selling price inflation of 3.3%;
- Total income grew by 5.7% to R4.9 billion;
- Headline earnings grew by 8.1% to R920 million;
- Diluted headline earnings per share grew by 9.5%;
- The board of directors has approved an interim gross ordinary dividend for the period ended 28 February 2021 of 142.5 cents per share.
Capital expenditure of R269 million (H1 2020: R309 million), it said, was invested mainly in new stores and pharmacies, store refurbishments, supply chain and information technology.
Clicks opened 17 stores in the first six months to expand its retail footprint to 760 stores. The brand opened its 600th pharmacy in February 2021 and increased its national presence to 601 pharmacies with the opening of 16 pharmacies.
The Clicks Club Card active membership base of 8.6 million accounted for 79.1% of sales in the first half, while online sales grew 167.4% to 1.3% of front shop sales.
Looking ahead, Clicks said trading conditions are expected to remain challenging as it continues to operate in a Covid-19 impacted environment, with the potential risk of a third wave of infections in the months ahead.
"The current economic climate has presented opportunities for new retail space and Clicks plans to accelerate its store expansion programme with the opening of 40 new stores, 36 pharmacies and 40 refurbishments for the year, it said.
The group said it has R745 million capex planned for the full year 2021, of which R317 will be spent on stores, including 40 new Clicks stores, 36 new pharmacies, and 40 store refurbishments. R428 million will be focused on IT, supply chain and infrastructure, including R226 million on IT systems.