During our first six months as a subsidiary of Walmart, Group sales increased by 15.0%, operating profit by 15.3% and headline earnings by 21.1%. The weaker Rand during the period boosted foreign exchange translation gains and we began incurring costs related to the integration of Massmart into Walmart. Excluding these two items, operating profit would have increased by 4.8% and headline earnings by 8.7%.

Group trading was resilient with comparable sales increasing by 9.2%, indicating, when measured against national retail sales growth of approximately 8.7%, a gain in overall market share. With internal product inflation of only 1.1%, the Groupís volume growth remained high.

We experienced cost pressures, which increased by 14.4%, as a result of our investments in: refurbished and new stores (space growth of 6.0%); supply chain facilities and capability; and Food Retail; as well as above-inflation increases in local taxes and service costs.

Management has been focused on maintaining operating momentum whilst aligning our Governance and Reporting processes with Walmart.

We await the rulings in both South Africa and Namibia regarding the separate legal challenges to the Walmart acquisition which followed the approvals issued in June 2011 in both countries.