INTEGRATED REPORT 2023

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'Our capital management strategy focuses on reinvesting in the long-term growth of the business and returning surplus funds to shareholders.'

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PERFORMANCE REVIEW

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER'S REPORT

HEPS
increased by 12% (9%*) to
873 cents
(2022: 780 cents)

DILUTED HEPS
increased by 12% (9%*) to
861 cents
(2022: 771 cents)

'The Group has again achieved all six of its financial and operating targets, with three targets being exceeded.'

Emanuel Cristaudo
Chief Financial Officer and Joint Deputy Chief Executive Officer

AGAINST THE BACKGROUND OF THE CHALLENGING CONSUMER SPENDING ENVIRONMENT IN BOTH SOUTH AFRICA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM, THE GROUP DELIVERED A GOOD FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE FOR THE 52 WEEKS TO 2 JULY 2023. TRUWORTHS AGAIN PROVED ITS RESILIENCE IN CONSTRAINED RETAIL TRADING CONDITIONS WHILE OFFICE SUSTAINED ITS POST-PANDEMIC GROWTH TRAJECTORY.

The Group further strengthened its financial position and continued to generate robust cash flows. This is reflected in the 25% increase in the net asset value per share to 2 073 cents (2022: 1 658 cents) while R3.8 billion was generated in cash from operations. The Group returned R2.0 billion to shareholders in dividends while R717 million was applied to capital investment.

The annual cash dividend increased by 12% to 565 cents per share (2022: 505 cents), comprising an interim dividend of 320 cents and final dividend of 245 cents, with the dividend cover being maintained at 1.5 times.

The Group has again achieved all six of its board-approved financial targets, with three targets being exceeded.

GROUP FINANCIAL AND OPERATING TARGETS

Financial targets are published to provide guidance to shareholders on the Group's financial performance objectives. Targets and performance are benchmarked against JSE-listed apparel retailers and leading global fashion retailers. The targets are reviewed annually by the board, based on actual performance and the medium-term outlook.

    2023 Medium-term  
targets#
Target
achieved or
exceeded
Local   
benchmark@
Global  
benchmark^
Gross margin (%) 52.5 49 - 53  43.6    54.3  
Operating margin (%) 24.0 18 - 23  blk-tick 13.3    12.8  
Return on equity (%) 48 31 - 36  blk-tick 20    15  
Return on assets (%) 30 22 - 27  blk-tick 14    11  
Inventory turn (times) 4.2 3.5 - 4.5  blk-tick 2.3    3.3  
Asset turnover (times) 1.2 0.9 - 1.3  blk-tick 1.0    1.0  
# Medium-term targets as published in the 2022 integrated report.
@ The local benchmarks are based on the average ratios for comparable JSE-listed apparel retailers, being Mr Price Group (year ended 1 April 2023) and TFG (year ended 31 March 2023).
^ The global benchmarks are based on the average ratios for listed global fashion retailers, being H&M (year ended 30 November 2022), Inditex (owner of the Zara fashion chain) (year ended 31 January 2023) and Lojas Renner (year ended 31 December 2022).

This performance highlights how the consistent application of the Business Philosophy has enabled the Group to continue to deliver some of the highest returns of fashion retailers in the world, thereby delivering on the Group's Vision for shareholders.

* On a pro forma basis, this compares the current 52-week period, excluding the impact of the indirect tax matter, with the pro forma prior corresponding 52-week period, being
the 52-week period from 5 July 2021 to 3 July 2022 (ie the 53-week prior period excluding the first week from 28 June 2021 to 4 July 2021).

 

OUR RESPONSE TO ISSUES IMPACTING FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE

Electricity load shedding impacting retail trading
The energy crisis in South Africa intensified from September 2022 onwards as electricity load shedding reached record levels and had a significant impact on retail trade as well as economic growth and job creation in the country.

Truworths response

  • Approximately R40 million spent on backup power solutions for stores, continuing the investment made over the past few years. Currently an additional R14 million is committed for the 2024 financial period for backup power solutions.
  • Additional costs incurred for fuel for generators at distribution centres and stores.
  • 87% of retail sales in Truworths covered by alternative power sources, with plans to extend this to approximately 92% by December 2023.
  • Remaining stores do not experience load shedding or have adequate natural and artificial lighting to trade offline.
Pressure on consumer spending in South Africa
Consumer spending has come under increased pressure from escalating electricity, food and borrowing costs.

Truworths response

  • Applied the Business Philosophy to guide the company's governance and adaptability in these challenging times.
  • Focused on elevation and differentiation of the company's product ranges to offer an even more compelling and enticing proposition to customers.
  • Continued focus on cost containment to mitigate the impact of constrained consumer spending.
  • Drove sales growth by launching new and expanded retail store formats.
  • Grew the active account base within consistently applied credit risk criteria.
  • Developed and offered account and purchase alternatives to customers.
  • Negotiated store rentals on acceptable terms.
High inflation and rising interest rates impacting spending in UK
Consumer spending in the UK remained under pressure due to high inflation and rising interest rates.

Office's response

  • Applied the Business Philosophy to guide the company's governance and adaptability in these challenging times.
  • Focused on offering the most appealing and differentiated footwear ranges as an even more compelling and enticing proposition to customers.
  • Continued strong focus on cost containment.
  • Alternative payment channel made available on the Office website and in-store.
  • Margin expansion achieved due to improved distribution efficiencies.
  • Closed six under-performing stores in the UK and exited all seven stores in Germany.

ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CAPITAL

The analysis of performance in this report aims to demonstrate how the Group's financial capital has been increased, preserved or eroded through the Group's operating and investing activities in the period, and how the effective management of this capital is expected to contribute to value creation for shareholders in the medium and long term.

This review of financial performance for the 52-week period ended 2 July 2023 should be read together with the Group's Audited Annual Financial Statements 2023, which are available at www.truworths.co.za/reports.

PRO FORMA INFORMATION

In line with the practice generally prevailing in the South African retailing industry, the Group manages its operations in accordance with a retail calendar, which treats each financial year as an exact 52-week period. This treatment effectively results in the –loss of a day (or two in a leap year) per calendar year. These days are brought to account every five to seven years by including a 53rd week in the financial reporting calendar.

In line with this principle the 2022 financial period ended 3 July 2022 (the prior period or 2022) included a 53rd trading week. Accordingly, the results of the 52-week period ended 2 July 2023 (the current period) are not comparable to those of the prior period in terms of number of weeks and dates.

Although the Group previously reported pro forma financial results for the 52-week prior period from 28 June 2021 to 26 June 2022, the board believes it is appropriate to also report pro forma financial results for the directly corresponding 52-week prior period from 5 July 2021 to 3 July 2022 (the corresponding prior period), in order to facilitate comparison.

In addition, the Group's current period earnings were enhanced by the settlement of a long-standing indirect tax matter with the South African Revenue Service, resulting in previous adverse assessments that had been issued in the 2022 financial period being reduced by R109 million (including the reversal of interest charged of R37 million), the release of accruals that had been accumulated since the 2008 financial period in respect of this matter amounting to R145 million, and the recognition of interest of R6 million on the overpayment of tax.

The pro forma financial information excludes the impact of the indirect tax matter on the current period's results as well as the impact of the first week in the prior period to facilitate meaningful comparisons. Refer to note 19 in the 2023 Summarised Audited Group Annual Results available on the website www.truworths.co.za/reports to view this pro forma information.

GROUP

Statements of comprehensive income

Sale of merchandise

Group retail sales increased by 11.4% (52 weeks: 13.2%) to R20.6 billion from R18.5 billion reported in the prior period. Account sales comprised 51% (2022: 52%) of retail sales for the period. Account and cash sales increased by 14.8% and 8.2% respectively.

Group sale of merchandise, which comprises Group retail sales, together with wholesale sales and delivery fee income, less accounting adjustments, increased by 11.2% to R19.9 billion.

Divisional sales 52 weeks
to 2 Jul
2023
Rm
53 weeks
to 3 Jul
2022
Rm
Change on
prior period
52 on
53 weeks
%
Truworths Africa 15 006 13 986 7.3
  Truworths ladieswear 5 383 4 974 8.2
  Truworths menswear 3 734 3 645 2.4
  Identity 2 420 2 287 5.8
  Truworths Kids Emporium# 1 522 1 409 8.0
  Other@ 1 947 1 671 16.5
Office 5 621 4 536 23.9
Group retail sales 20 627 18 522 11.4
YDE agency sales 233 230 1.3
Truworths Man, Uzzi, Daniel Hechter Mens, Fuel and LTD Men.
# LTD Kids, Earthchild and Naartjie.
@ Cosmetics, Cellular, Truworths Jewellery, Office London (South Africa), Loads of Living and Sync.

Group trading space increased by 1.1% (increase of 1.4% in Truworths and decrease of 12.6% in Office). At the end of the period, the Group had 876 stores, including 11 concession outlets (2022: 877 stores including 11 concession outlets).

Gross margin
The Group's gross margin decreased to 52.5% (2022: 53.5%). Truworths gross margin reduced to 55.4% (2022: 56.7%) mainly due to higher levels of sales promotion activity. The gross margin in Office improved to 45.2% (2022: 44.2%), primarily due to improved distribution efficiencies.

Trading expenses
Trading expenses increased by 17.6% to R7.8 billion and constituted 39.1% (2022: 36.9%) of sale of merchandise. Excluding trade receivable costs, which were 50.8% higher, trading expenses grew by 12.7% as the expense base normalised in the post-COVID environment, together with relatively high levels of cost inflation in SA and the UK.

An analysis of trading expenses is included in the Truworths and Office sections in this report.

Trading profit
Group trading profit was unchanged at R3.6 billion while the trading margin decreased to 18.2% from 20.2%.

Interest income
Interest income increased 44.9% to R1.1 billion (2022: R789 million) as a consequence of the growth in the trade receivables portfolio and higher interest rates.

Profit before finance costs and tax
Group profit before finance costs and tax increased 8.1% to R4.8 billion (2022: R4.4 billion). The operating margin decreased to 24.0% from 24.7%.

Finance costs
Finance costs increased by 60.9% to R378 million (2022: R235 million) due to higher borrowing levels and interest rates. The Group increased its utilisation of the revolving credit facility in Truworths by R500 million to fund working capital requirements.

Earnings
Headline earnings per share (HEPS) increased 12.0% (9.0%*) to 873.3 cents (2022: 779.8 cents) while diluted HEPS grew by 11.8% (8.7%*) to 861.4 cents (2022: 770.8 cents).

Basic earnings per share (EPS) and diluted basic EPS increased by 11.9% (8.9%*) to 888.5 cents (2022: 794.1 cents) and 11.7% (8.9%*) to 876.4 cents (2022: 784.9 cents), respectively.

Statements of financial position

Net asset value
The Group's financial position remains strong with the net asset value per share increasing 25.0% to 2 073 cents (2022: 1 658 cents).

Property, plant and equipment
The increase of 22.8% to R2.1 billion (2022: R1.7 billion) in property, plant and equipment (PPE) arose from the expenditure on the Truworths distribution centre which is currently under construction.

Right-of-use assets
Right-of-use assets increased by 28.3% to R3.3 billion (2022: R2.6 billion) due to new leases being concluded (including the 99-year lease in respect of land for the new distribution centre), lease renewals and modifications in terms of IFRS 16 and the reversal of previously recognised right-of-use asset impairments.

Inventory
Inventories increased by 23.4% to R2.2 billion (2022: R1.8 billion) as stock levels in Office normalised after being understocked in the prior period. The Group's inventory turn was 4.2 times (2022: 4.6 times).

Gross finished goods inventory in Truworths increased 9.9% and the inventory turn increased to 4.5 times (2022: 4.4 times). In Office, gross inventory increased by 27.5% and the inventory turn decreased to 4.2 times (2022: 4.8 times) in Sterling. Shareholders will recall that prior period inventory levels were abnormally low, having been impacted by disruption in the global supply chain.

Debt
Group net debt (excluding IFRS 16 lease liabilities) totalled R850 million at period end compared to R564 million at the prior period-end.

Capital management

The Group generated R3.8 billion (2022: R3.9 billion) in cash from operations and this mainly funded the following:

  • Dividend payments of R1 989 million
  • Capital expenditure of R717 million

The Group bought back shares totalling R28 million. Since the inception of the share buy-back programme in 2002, 155 million shares have been repurchased at a total cost of R6 billion at an average price of R38.76 per share.

The cash realisation rate, which is a measure of how profits are converted into cash, was 74% (2022: 80%). The cash realisation rate was negatively impacted by the growth in trade receivables and higher inventory levels, which decreased the cash inflow from operations.

The Group's net debt to equity ratio was 11.1% (2022: 9.2%) and net debt to EBITDA was 0.1 times (2022: 0.1 times).

TRUWORTHS

This analysis covers the performance of the Truworths business segment which operates in South Africa and in the rest of Africa, and includes YDE.

Statements of comprehensive income

Sale of merchandise
Retail sales in Truworths increased by 7.3% (52 weeks: 9.1%) to R15.0 billion (2022: R14.0 billion), with account and cash sales increasing by 8.2% (52 weeks: 10.1%) and 5.2% (52 weeks: 6.8%) respectively.

Account sales comprised 70% (2022: 69%) of retail sales. Like-for-like store retail sales increased by 4.4% (52 weeks: 6.1%) with retail selling price inflation averaging 12.6% (2022: 0.6% deflation).

Retail trading space increased by 1.4% as Truworths opened 24 stores and closed 14.

E-commerce delivered a strong sales performance as online retail in South Africa gathers momentum, increasing by 45% (52 weeks: 49%) and contributing 3.5% of Truworths retail sales (2022: 2.6%). Truworths is well positioned for further online growth with its advanced systems and logistics capabilities.

The South African operations accounted for 96.6% (2022: 96.7%) of Truworths retail sales, with the 31 (2022: 31) stores in the rest of Africa contributing the balance.

Trading densities grew by 6.0% to the highest ever level of R39 359 per m2 (2022: R37 12 per m2).

Gross margin
The gross margin decreased from 56.7% to 55.4% owing mainly to higher levels of sales promotion activity.

Trading expenses

June 2023
Rm
June 2022
Rm
Change on
prior period
%
Depreciation and amortisation 1 139 1 046 9
Employment costs 1 915 1 806 6
Occupancy cost 604 575 5
Trade receivable costs 1 265 851 49
Other operating costs 1 134 1 000 13
Trading expenses 6 057 5 278 15

TRUWORTHS AFRICA AND OFFICE BUSINESS SEGMENTS

Management measures the operating results of the Truworths and Office business segments separately for the purpose of resource allocation and performance assessment. Segmental performance is reported on an IFRS basis and evaluated with reference to revenue, gross margin, operating margin, EBITDA and profit after tax.

Truworths
Rm 
Office
Rm 
Consolidation  
entries  
Rm  
Group
Rm
 
2023 
Total revenue  16 112  5 907  (27)  21 992 
   Third party  16 088  5 904  –    21 992 
   Inter-segment  24  (27)  – 
Trading expenses  6 057  1 738  (23)  7 772 
   Depreciation and amortisation  1 139  220  –   1 359 
   Employment costs  1 915  590  (16)  2 489 
   Occupancy costs  604  357  –  961 
   Trade receivable costs  1 265  18  –  1 283 
   Other operating costs  1 134  553  (7)  1 680 
Interest income  1 130  14  (1)  1 143 
Finance costs  350  29  (1)  378 
Profit for the period  2 478  810  –   3 288 
   Profit before tax  3 374  1 023  –   4 397 
   Tax expense  (896) (213) –   (1 109)
EBITDA  4 863  1 272  (1)   6 134 
Segment assets   18 739  3 243  (5 849)* 16 133 
Segment liabilities  6 544  1 948  (13)* 8 479 
Capital expenditure  651  94  –   745 
Other segmental information 
   Gross margin (%)  55.4  45.2  –   52.5 
   Trading margin (%)  18.1  18.3  –   18.2 
   Operating margin (%)  26.2  18.5  –   24.0 
   Inventory turn (times)  4.5  3.8  –   4.2 
   Account: cash sales mix (%)  70:30  0:100  –   51:49 
* Elimination of investment in Office as well as inter-segment assets and liabilities.

 

Truworths 
Rm 
Office
Rm
Consolidation   
entries   
Rm   
Group 
Rm 
2022
Total revenue 14 643   4 730 (33)   19 340  
  Third party 14 610  4 730 –    19 340 
  Inter-segment 33  (33)   – 
Trading expenses 5 278   1 345 (16)   6 607  
  Depreciation and amortisation 1 046  115 –    1 161 
  Employment costs 1 806  471 (10)   2 267 
  Occupancy costs 575  226 –    801 
  Trade receivable costs 851  –    851 
  Other operating costs 1 000  533 (6)   1 527 
Interest income 806   (17)   789  
Finance costs 207   45 (17)   235  
Profit for the period 2 453   614 –    3 067  
  Profit before tax 3 416  766 –    4 182 
  Tax expense (963) (152) –    (1 115)
EBITDA 4 669   926 (17)   5 578 
Segment assets 12 316   2 137 (962)* 13 491  
Segment liabilities 5 789   1 774 (178)* 7 385 
Capital expenditure 325   20 –    345  
Other segmental information
  Gross margin (%) 56.7  44.2 –    53.5 
  Trading margin (%) 21.2  17.6 –    20.2 
  Operating margin (%) 27.3  17.6 –    24.7  
  Inventory turn (times) 4.4  4.9 –    4.6 
  Account: cash sales mix (%) 69:31  0:100 –    52:48 
* Elimination of investment in Office as well as inter-segment assets and liabilities.

Trading expenses increased by 15% to R6.1 billion (2022: R5.3 billion). Trading expenses to sale of merchandise increased from 39.8% in the prior period to 42.6% in the current period.

  • Depreciation and amortisation increased by 9%. Depreciation of the right-of-use assets increased by 12% due to an increase in the number of leases accounted for under IFRS 16. Depreciation in respect of PPE and software increased 2%.
  • Employment costs increased by 6%. Excluding non-comparable stores and costs, employment costs increased by 10% due to higher sales, annual salary increases and lower vacancies.
  • Occupancy costs, which comprise rentals not accounted for in terms of IFRS 16 as well as other occupancy costs (mainly utilities), increased by 5%. Excluding non-comparable stores, occupancy costs increased 5%. Excluding non-comparable stores and civil unrest rent concessions in the prior year, rentals paid increased 4%.
  • Trade receivable costs increased by 49%. The expected credit loss (ECL) allowance decreased from 20.9% to 20.6% of gross trade receivables, however, gross trade receivables increased by 12%, resulting in an increase of R120 million in the ECL allowance as a result of the growth in the trade receivables book (2022: decrease of R26 million). Net bad debts and related costs increased 31% to R1 145 million on the back of weaker recoveries. Net of trade receivables interest, trade receivable costs increased by R72 million to R158 million relative to the prior period (2022: R86 million).
  • Other operating costs increased by 13% mostly due to higher account acquisition costs, insurance premiums (following the civil unrest in the prior period) and right of use asset impairments together with the normalising of the expense base post COVID-19.

Trading profit
Trading profit decreased by 8% (13%*) to R2 578 million (2022: R2 809 million). The trading margin reduced from 21.2% to 18.1% mainly due to the lower gross margin and higher trade receivable costs.

Interest income
Interest income increased by 40% to R1 130 million (2022: R806 million) owing to higher account sales, the growing trade receivables portfolio and rising interest rates. The South African benchmark repo rate was increased progressively by 350 basis points from 4.75% at the start of the period to 8.25% at period-end.

Profit before finance costs and tax
Profit before finance costs and tax increased by 3% (decreased 1%*) to R3.7 billion (2022: R3.6 billion), with the operating margin declining to 26.2% from 27.3%.

Finance costs
Finance costs increased by R142 million to R350 million (2022: R208 million) mainly due to higher borrowing levels to fund working capital requirements, and higher interest rates.

OFFICE

This analysis covers the financial performance of the Office business segment, which operates primarily in the UK, with a small presence in the Republic of Ireland. The Office stores in Germany were closed during the reporting period.

Statements of comprehensive income

Sale of merchandise
Sale of merchandise increased by 16.4% (52 weeks: 18.3%) to –265 million (2022: –228 million) for the period while retail sales increased by 16.9% (52 weeks: 18.8%) to –262 million (2022: –224 million) as trading conditions improved with the recovery in tourism and workers returning to offices. Trading space decreased 12.6% following the opening of 2 stores and closure of 13.

E-commerce retail sales increased 17.4% (52 weeks: 19.4%) to –118 million and accounted for 45% of total retail sales (2022: 45%).

  Retail sales
June 2023
52 weeks
£m
Retail sales
June 2022
53 weeks
£m
Retail sales
June 2022
52 weeks
£m
Change on
prior period
52 on 53
weeks
%
Change on
prior period
52 on 52
weeks
%
Number
of stores
June 2023
Number
of stores
June 2022
United Kingdom 246.8 208.9 205.6 18 20 74 78
Republic of Ireland 11.3 9.1 9.0 24 26 7 7
Germany 4.0 6.3 6.0 (37) (33) –  7
Total 262.1 224.3 220.6 17 19 81* 92*
* Including 11 concession stores (2022: 11 concession stores)

Gross margin
The gross margin strengthened to 45.2% (2022: 44.2%) owing mainly to improved distribution efficiencies.

Trading expenses

  June 2023
–m
June 2022
–m
Change on
prior period
%
Depreciation and amortisation 10.3 5.7 81
Employment costs 27.5 23.3 18
Occupancy cost 16.6 11.2 48
Other operating costs 26.7 26.3 2
Trading expenses 81.1 66.5 22
  • Depreciation and amortisation increased 81%. Depreciation of PPE and software decreased by 11% due to assets becoming fully depreciated and lower capital expenditure being incurred in recent years. Depreciation on right-of-use assets increased by more than 100% due to the reversal of right-of-use asset impairments of –2.9 million in June 2022 and a further –3.7 million in December 2022 and increases in lease restoration costs.
  • Employment costs increased 18%. Excluding once-off items, employment costs increased 12% due to improved trading, national minimum wage increases and inflationary pressure.
  • Occupancy costs increased 48%. The increase is mainly due to the lower business rates holiday of –0.1 million in the current period compared to –2.6 million in the prior period, an increase in concession rent of –1.4 million due to improved trading, higher COVID-19 rent concessions in the prior period, and an increase in lease termination costs in the current period arising from exiting the stores in Germany. Excluding once-off items, occupancy costs increased by 16% due to increases in utility costs.
  • Other operating costs (including trade receivable costs) increased 2%. Excluding once-off items, other operating costs increased by 6%.

Profit before finance costs and tax
Profit before finance costs and tax increased by 22% to –49.1 million (2022: –40.1 million) with the operating margin strengthening from 17.6% to 18.5%.

GROUP INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Capital expenditure of R66 million (2023: R74 million) was invested in leading edge information technology (IT) systems over the current period to support the retail operations and supply chain. The Group has committed R116 million for Truworths and Office IT capital expenditure for the 2024 reporting period.

Major IT projects: Truworths Africa

Completed in 2023 financial period:

  • Piloted new point-of-sale application in stores. The application has been integrated into the customer experience and
    e-commerce solutions to create a highly functional and seamless omni-channel customer experience.
  • Integrated the Barrie Cline and Bonwit operations onto a standard systems platform.
  • Commenced the migration of the corporate network onto newer data and digital telephony infrastructure to save costs.
  • Upgraded order fulfilment processes as well as introduced additional payment channels for the Truworths e-commerce platform.
  • Streamlined the process to open new accounts on digital platforms.
  • Continuous improvement and delivery of cyber security strategies.

Planned for completion in 2024 financial period:

  • Progress the roll-out of the new point-of-sale solution to a significant portion of the Truworths store base.
  • Transfer all YDE systems from the current third-party provider platform onto the Truworths integrated system.
  • Upgrade the warehouse management applications in preparation for the move to the new Truworths distribution facility.
  • Roll-out of the latest technology across the enterprise network to support future networking and telephony needs.
  • Implement systems to assist with local design and manufacture.
  • Digitise components of customer service, including collections.
  • Ongoing improvement and delivery of cyber security strategies.
  • Implement a further major phase of the Group's financial planning solution, focusing on consolidated expense management, forecasting and reporting.
Major IT projects: Office

Completed in 2023 financial period:

  • Migrated the payroll to the same system operated in Truworths.
  • Renewal of data centre infrastructure, including new backup and recovery solution, upgrade of head office server and new UPS (uninterrupted power supply) solution.
  • Renewal of warehouse network infrastructure to support digital warehouse operations.
  • Continued development of digital technology in stores to improve staff efficiency and drive omni-channel sales.

Planned for completion in 2024 financial period:

  • Commence and make significant progress with the implementation of a new ERP merchandise management system.
  • Implement new wide area network to add resilience and bandwidth to the store network to further enable digital trade and generate cost savings.
  • Implement new network security infrastructure (firewalls) to enhance digital security and meet the increased capacity demands of new technologies.
  • Implement new unified VOIP (voice over internet protocol) system across stores, warehouse and head office to enhance internal communications and reduce costs.

GROUP FINANCIAL PLANS FOR 2024

Capital expenditure of R895 million (Truworths R741 million and Office –6.4 million) has been committed for the 2024 financial period and will be applied mainly as follows:

  • R388 million for the development of the new Truworths distribution facility;
  • R378 million for the development of new stores and the expansion and refurbishment of existing stores; and
  • R116 million for computer infrastructure and software.

Trading space is planned to increase by approximately 2% in Truworths and approximately 10% in Office.

The trading outlook for Truworths and Office for the 2024 financial period is covered in the Review of 2023 and Outlook for 2024 on page 2 and in the Chief Executive Officer's report on page 59.

GROUP MEDIUM-TERM FINANCIAL TARGETS

The Group's medium-term financial and operating targets have been reviewed against South African and international competitors and remain unchanged. These targets have been approved by the board.

    Medium-
term
targets
Gross margin (%) 49 - 53
Operating margin (%) 18 - 23
Return on equity (%) 31 - 36
Return on assets (%) 22 - 27
Inventory turn (times) 3.5 - 4.5
Asset turnover (times) 0.9 - 1.3

APPRECIATION

Thank you to our loyal shareholders for your continued belief in our investment case and we welcome those who invested for the first time during the year. I also thank the board, my executive colleagues, the finance team, our employees as well as the Group's professional service providers for your support and commitment. The Group continues to be recognised for its high standards of financial reporting and I acknowledge the outstanding contribution of our Group finance team who constantly strive to set the benchmark for corporate reporting.

I extend my appreciation to Ernst & Young whose term of office has been completed and we thank the partners and staff for their support over may years.

Emanuel Cristaudo
Chief Financial Officer and
Joint Deputy Chief Executive Officer

INTEGRATED REPORT 2023