VOLUNTARY PERFORMANCE UPDATE
The Group’s results for the year ended 29 February 2020 will be published on or about 26 May 2020.
In the interim, shareholders are provided with the following brief voluntary performance update on the business. This update pertains to the 52 weeks ended 29 February 2020 for the Group’s South Africa (“SA”) and rest of Africa and Middle East (“AME”) regions. The United Kingdom (“UK”) operation narrative relates to the Gourmet Burger Kitchen Restaurants Limited (“GBK”) business for the 52-week period ended 23 February 2020. Collectively this reporting period is referred to as the “review period”.
The challenging trading conditions outlined in the first half of the year persisted for the balance of the review period, featuring subdued consumer sentiment and constrained discretionary spend. In the SA market, margin pressure increased in the context of an intensely competitive trading landscape and sustained low food inflation. Furthermore, frequent power outages and the lack of transformational economic and socio-political reforms weighed heavily on economic growth and business and consumer confidence.
The Group’s restaurants trade in three primary markets, SA, AME and the UK. The brand portfolio is categorised into Leading (mainstream) and Signature (niche) brands.
Trading performance over the review period – which includes the traditional peak SA summer holidays – broadly met management’s expectations, despite the untimely setback caused by load shedding in December.
The Group’s Leading brands delivered creditable results for the period. Most of the brands in this portfolio are established market leaders and their value offering (price, quality and service) continued to enjoy strong customer loyalty. On balance, the Signature brands portfolio performed better than in the prior comparable period, attributable to implementation of remedial interventions and further rationalisation of under-performing sites and offerings. Certain brands remain the subject of critical review, with the goal being to ensure the portfolio delivers returns which are proportionally aligned with investment.
Across our Leading and Signature brands, combined system-wide sales* increased 6.4%, while like-for-like sales** grew by 2.9%. Independently, Leading brands system-wide sales rose 5.7%, with like-for-like sales up 3.5%. Signature brands^ system-wide sales increased 10.6%, while like-for-like sales declined by 0.8%.
Notably, while low menu pricing assisted with customer retention, it had an adverse impact on inflationary growth.
Our AME operations recorded system-wide sales growth of 4.1% in Rand terms, a pleasing return on investments made over recent years.
Uncertainty regarding the resolution of Brexit persisted during most of the reporting period, subduing consumer confidence and spend in the UK market.
GBK’s results for the review period reflect the difficult and intensely competitive trading conditions, however, management is satisfied that ongoing and extensive operational improvements as well as the benefits derived from the Company Voluntary Arrangement (“CVA”) restructuring programme continue to impact positively on the business.
System-wide sales (Sterling) declined by 13.9% (attributable to the closure of restaurants as part of the CVA process), while like-for-like sales increased by 3.7% compared to the previous year.
System-wide sales refer to sales reported by all restaurants across the network, including new restaurants opened during the period.
* Like-for-like sales refer to sales reported by all restaurants across the network, excluding restaurants opened or closed during the period.
# Leading brands’ sales refer to sales of the Leading brands trading in SA.
^ Signature brands’ sales refer to SA sales as well as sales cross border only where the brand is a Joint Venture partnership and the brand is not managed by its AME management team.
SUPPLY CHAIN: MANUFACTURING AND LOGISTICS
Softer pricing at the front-end of the business impacted on this division’s revenue growth, as stubbornly low food inflation inhibited opportunities to increase prices; this, together with the deliberate strategy to entrench the competitiveness of the supply chain, served to erode profits.
The financial information on which this voluntary performance update is based has not been reviewed or reported on by the Group’s external auditors.