Massmart to increase store count by 8.6%

Johannesburg -- Massmart Holdings Ltd., the South African retailer controlled by Wal-Mart Stores, announced Thursday it will up its store counts in fiscal 2012 by 8.6% to 340 stores. The company will open 27 new stores during the period, mostly in South Africa and two in Nigeria.CEO Grant Pattison said the accelerated pace is to keep the company in front of its competitors.

Also on Thursday, Massmart reported an 11.6% rise in total sales for the year ended June 26 to $7.29 billion, and upped its forecast for the remainder of 2011.

"There are some challenges with the global economy and some uncertainty if interest rates will go up or down in South Africa," said Pattison, but "We remain confident we have the right plans in place."

Profit for the period fell to $116.2 million from $156.5 million a year earlier.