In South Africa Massmart posts flat full-year profit

The retailer, which sells everything from rice in bulk to building materials, said sales of general merchandise and do-it-yourself products slowed towards the end of the year.

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Shoppers load their goods into a car outside a Makro branch of South African retailer Massmart in Cape Town May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings play Shoppers load their goods into a car outside a Makro branch of South African retailer Massmart in Cape Town May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings (Reuters)
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South African retailer Massmart reported a 0.8 percent rise in full-year profit on Thursday, weighed down by slower sales as the economy of its home market weakened in the latter part of the year.

Massmart, majority-owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc, posted diluted headline earnings per share of 508.8 cents for the 12 months to end-December, compared with 504.7 cents a year earlier.

Headline EPS is the most widely watched profit gauge in South Africa and strips out certain one-off items.

"Unfortunately the outlook has weakened considerably and we anticipate further negative pressures, including poor economic growth, higher inflation from the weaker Rand and higher interest rates," Massmart said in statement.

The retailer, which sells everything from rice in bulk to building materials, said sales of general merchandise and do-it-yourself products slowed towards the end of the year.

Massmart, the second-largest distributor of consumer goods in Africa and with 38 of its 403 stores outside its home market, said it expects to open five new stores outside South Africa in 2016.

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