A billion rand for a Month’s trade for the first time in its 55 year history is a great way to end a year. And not only did Ellerine Holdings end 2005 with this figure it also showed strong wroth in its quarterly sales to December 2005.

Both the sale of merchandise and total turnover increased by 125% compared to the same period in 2004.

The traditional Ellerines and Relyant credit and cash retail divisions recorded an increase in the sale of merchandise of between 20 and 25%, with Wetherlys recording an increase of 11%.

The southern African Foreign division continued experiencing a difficult trading environment and the sale of merchandise was down 7% compared to the previous year’s results.

HGR spoke to Ellerine Holdings Financial director Reg Rawlings about this set of results.

“the growth was exactly how we had planned it,” said reg.
“And to achieve a 20 percent increase for continued operations in sale of merchandise was an excellent achievement all round.

“What was really exciting for us though was the billion rand turnover we achieved in one month across the group. Not too long ago it would take us a couple of mnths to achieve a billion rand in turnover. And it does augur well for the year ahead”.

During this last quarter the Relyant income was also incorporated into Ellerine Holdings and HGR asked Reg how overall integration of the two had been going.

“The Relyant intergration has continued from the day we acquired the company. From that point we re-engeneering and re-focused Relyant operations. The marketing and merchandise divisions have been fully intergrated and we are currently in the process of intergrating the financial structures and IT platforms so these are all standard across the Group. One big advantage for us has been the excellent chemistry amongst the staff during the intergration process which has played a tremendous role in ensuring a smooth transition.”

The past couple of years have seen a buoyant consumer seen market and when we asked Reg if he foresaw any factors which could cause a down ward trwnd in the market place his reply was: “it is quite difficult to think of any forthcoming negative aspects.

“We have not yet seen the benefits of the surplus pension payouts on the marketplace. These have not yet filtered through to the heard these figures are quite significant – in the billions we have been told.

“Then the government spending on infrastructure leading up to the 2010 world cup of soccer is yet to begin.

“And if you look at other figures namely the strong rand, along with the gold and platinum prices at a 23 year high and inflation at about 5 percent plus there is talk of further tax cuts.

“Even more significant for us is the strong emerging black middle class market in the 5 to 7 LSM bracket. Which all combined paints a rather bright future for the retail trade.

“The only item that could be a challenge to us is the Credit Bill. But we believe this Bill could even enhance consumer spending once it has been finalized. And if we get a softening interest rates you expect a bonanza for consumers.

“Also our cash collection and arrears have never been better and I foresee a long term boom right through to 2010.”

Regarding its southern African foreign business Reg said: “Trading in the rest southern Africa is difficult and there are challenges which we have to manage according in order to ensure growth in these respective regions.”