JOHANNESBURG May 22 South Africa's Massmart
Holdings said on Wednesday it expects lacklustre sales
growth this year, as the unit of Wal-Mart Stores Inc
battles with weak consumer demand in Africa's top economy.
Massmart, majority owned by the world's largest retailer,
said comparable store sales increased by 5.6 percent for the
first 21 weeks of its financial year.
"The decline in comparable sales growth has been evident in
all product categories and across all South African
geographies," the company said, adding it expected growth to
"remain soft" for the remainder of the year.
Massmart also said operating margins would probably not
match 2012 levels, reflecting recent capital expenditure.
The company said it expects to open 27 new stores in the
remainder of the financial year, including Builders Warehouse
stores in Botswana and Mozambique.
Shares of Massmart were down 0.8 percent at 202.50 rand at
0914 GMT, compared with a 1 percent drop in the benchmark Top-40