SA is in a five-week lockdown because of the coronavirus, which has halted economic activity. Only essential service providers such as Clicks are allowed to operate.
Clicks planned to open 38 new Clicks stores and 40 pharmacies in the financial year.
“I fully understand the future may be more difficult but it may create more opportunities,” Ramsunder said.
Ramsunder said he last week signed a lease for a store in a shopping centre that Clicks had tried to enter for 10 years and now space had become available.
The company reported a 12.9% rise in profit for the six months to February to R850m. Headline earnings per share were up 14.4% to 338.4c over the half-year period.
Clicks retail stores increased turnover by 8.6% to R12.3bn while income rose 7.7% to R4.1bn. Clicks’ wholesaler business, UPD, which distributes medicines to a hospital group, independent pharmacies and to Clicks stores, reported a 12.3% increase in turnover to R7.4bn while income rose 14.2% to R601m.
For the seven weeks to April 19, UPD’s turnover grew by 31.2% due to customers preparing for the Covid-19 impact. It has excess medicine stock after making a decision to buy extra drugs when the coronavirus hit China amid concerns over supply chain disruptions from countries in the East that manufacture medicines.
“We started planning when coronavirus hit China not when it hit SA,” Ramsunder said.