Retailer Woolworths says it will continue to roll out free in-store Wi-Fi for shoppers, having launched the service in 85 stores in December.
All customers across its major stores in Guateng, Pretoria, KwaZulu-Natal, and Cape Town receive two hours of free Wi-Fi, amid a continued shift towards online and mobile shopping platforms.
By the end of 2016, Woolworths had 219 clothing stores in South Africa, two more than in the prior period, while Woolworths Food boasted 322 stores – and 72 at Engen garages – up from 317 and 67, respectively, in 2016.
On Wednesday, the group said that despite difficult trading conditions in both South Africa and Australia, group sales increased by 6.7% to R37.8 billion for the 26 weeks to 25 December 2016.
However, headline earnings per share declined by 4.3% to 242.6 cents for the 26 weeks period.
Profit before tax increased 37.9% following the sale by David Jones of its Market Street property in Sydney for a profit of A$172 million (R1762 million).
Woolworths Clothing and General Merchandise sales grew by 3.5%, while Woolworths Food sales grew by 9.5%, with comparable sales up by 5.6%, it said.
The group maintained an interim dividend of 133 cents.
The retailer said it will continue to drive online sales – currently showing 30% growth, and improve the “online customer journey with better site capability and speed”.