For the 8 weeks to 21 February 2016, total sales increased by 8.9% and comparable sales increased by 6.9%. We are seeing exceptionally strong sales growth from our non-SA stores, and excluding these stores shows South Africa-only total and comparable sales growths of 6.9% and 6.0% respectively.

For 2016 and possibly 2017, the anticipated South African economic environment will constrain consumer spending across several key Group categories including General Merchandise and Home Improvement / DIY, whilst our substantial Food and Liquor categories may perform relatively better. There may be severe pricing pressure on lower-income households and we are resolved to keep our baskets affordable for those households.

The financial information on which this outlook statement is based has not been reviewed or reported on by the Company’s external auditors.

 

Dividends

In August 2015 we indicated to shareholders that we would likely be changing the Group’s future dividend policy to levels similar to our SA retail peers. This adjustment to the Group’s capital structure is necessary as a result of significant property acquisitions between 2012 and 2014 and our store growth into Africa which increasingly can entail investing in that real estate. With effect from this dividend cycle therefore, the Massmart dividend cover is amended to 2.00 x cover.

Notice is hereby given that a gross final cash dividend of 112.16 cents per share, in respect of the year ended December 2015 has been declared. The proposed dividend, when combined with the interim dividend of 146.00 cents, will result in cover of 2.00 x for the full year. The number of shares in issue at the date of this declaration is 217,136,334.

The dividend has been declared out of income reserves as defined in the Income Tax Act, 1962, and will be subject to the South African dividend withholding tax (“DWT”) rate of 15% which will result in a net dividend of 95.366 cents per share to those shareholders who are not exempt from paying dividend tax. Massmart’s tax reference number is 9900/196/71/9.

 

The salient dates relating to the payment of the dividend are as follows:
Last day to trade cum dividend on the JSE:
Friday, 11 March 2016
First trading day ex dividend on the JSE:
Monday, 14 March 2016
Record date:
Friday, 18 March 2016
Payment date:

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

 

Share certificates may not be dematerialised or rematerialised between Monday, 14 March 2016 and Friday, 18 March 2016, both days inclusive.

Massmart shareholders who hold Massmart ordinary shares in certificated form (“certificated shareholders”) should note that dividends will be paid by cheque and by means of an electronic funds transfer (“EFT”) method. Where the dividend payable to a particular certificated shareholder is less than R100, the dividend will be paid by EFT only to such certificated shareholder. Certificated shareholders who do not have access to any EFT facilities are advised to contact the company’s transfer secretaries, Computershare Investor Services at Ground Floor, 70 Marshall Street, Johannesburg 2001; PO Box 61051, Marshalltown 2107; on 011 370 5000; or on 086 110 09818 (fax), in order to make the necessary arrangements to take delivery of the proceeds of their dividend.

Massmart shareholders who hold Massmart ordinary shares in dematerialised form will have their accounts held at their CSDP or broker credited electronically with the proceeds of their dividend.

 

On behalf of the Board

Guy_Hayward_Signature                          Hans

Guy Hayward                         Johannes van Lierop
Chief Executive Officer           Chief Financial Officer
24 February 2016