Wal-Mart’s Massmart Profit Declines in Worst Yet Retail Market

Massmart Holdings Ltd., the South African grocery and general goods retailer owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said tougher control of costs wasn’t enough to prevent earnings falling during “the most difficult trading conditions in recent memory.”

First-half operating profit before interest declined by 6.6 percent to 765.1 million rand ($58 million), the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement on Thursday. Sales increased 0.5 percent to 42.5 billion rand. The retailer raised the interim dividend by 2.6 percent to 0.76 rand a share.

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