A release said: ‘Group profit decreased by 24%, due primarily to this provision for deemed VAT, as well as an increase in expenses. Selling and administration costs rose by 14%, due to inflation and an increase in rents and electricity expenses. The Group’s net finance costs, however, decreased by 13%. Singer Finance, a Group subsidiary, reported an increase in revenues of 7%, although net profit declined by 6%.
‘Relatively low customer demand also tempered growth, with a sluggish business environment impacting most major retailers. Although the economic environment posed a number of challenges, Singer’s industry-best systems and culture have allowed it to weather the storm. For example, the Group has been able to leverage its state-of-the-art online real-time ERP system, as well as its call center service, SMS reminders and more traditional collection drives to ensure that the collections process was well managed.