Amid ongoing uncertainty about the duration and severity of the pandemic, this has been a period of successful implementation, integration and growth for Dis-Chem.

Ivan Leon Saltzman

Over the last financial year, we have navigated a challenging and complex operating environment amid ongoing uncertainty about the duration and severity of the pandemic. July was a particularly difficult month, with tighter lockdown restrictions because of the Delta variant and the devastating impact of widespread riots leading to a contraction of the economy in the third quarter of 2021.

In the face of all these challenges and rapid changes in consumer behaviour, we progressed strategic initiatives and completed acquisitions that will continue to drive the Group forward in years to come.

Dis-Chem’s customer-centric approach and our focus on execution has allowed us to deliver a quality set of operating and financial results. This would not have been possible without our dedicated team of employees, who once again worked tirelessly to ensure Dis-Chem remained the retail pharmacy destination of choice for consumers in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.

Financial overview

On the back of significant investments in prior periods, this financial year has been a period of successful implementation, integration, and growth. We continued our capital investment programme, opening 12 Dis-Chem and three Baby City stores, which added 12 666㎡ of floor space. Dis-Chem’s property footprint as at the end of February 2022 was made up of 254 retail pharmacy stores and 35 retail baby stores

We performed well across key metrics, with market share gains across all core categories, supported by further normalisation in gross margins. This is being driven by a sustained return to regional shopping malls, where many mature Dis-Chem stores are located.

The addition of Medicare to our portfolio contributed tostrong market share gains in our Dispensary category, whichby March!2022 had increased to 26.3%. I am proud to say that we are now South Africa’s largest retail pharmacy group by dispensary market share. Our share of the baby care market grew by 16.1% post the integration of Baby City and we expect to see a steady increase in this category.

Overall Group revenue was up 15.7% to R30.4 billion, exceeding R30 billion for the first time, while operating profit rose 21.6% to R1.54 billion. New stores, including three Baby City Stores, contributed R531 million to revenue. Revenue growth was driven by our commitment to excellent service, competitive pricing, a more comprehensive range of products, and improved stock availability, specifically in our regional DCs. Earnings per share rose 27.6% to 99.2 cents.