International travel allowed from 1 October; The Foschini Group; Discovery

By Claire Badenhorst

  • After warning investors that its half-year profit could fall by more than 20%, the Foschini Group’s share price fell by 5%. The company said that, aside from taking a hit due to the pandemic, it lost 15,000 trading hours from May to August thanks to load shedding. Locally, sales declined by 26% but the retailer said it expects difficult trading conditions across South Africa, the UK and Australia to continue.
  • Shares in Discovery fell 3% on Wednesday after the insurer said it had spent R2.2bn on developing new business lines. This includes the bank which it launched in November last year. Discovery said the bank, which adapts its insurance model to lending and savings by tying interest rates to customer behaviour, has almost 500,000 accounts and deposits worth R3.7bn.
  • Of course the biggest news of the day was an announcement from President Cyril Ramaphosa that South Africa moves to alert level 1 from midnight on 20 September. Level 1 will see the gradual and cautious easing of restrictions on international travel, with effect from 1 October. “Travel may be restricted to and from certain countries that have high infection rates,” he says. “A list of those countries will be published and it will be based on the latest scientific data that we will be able to get. All travellers will be screened on arrival. All travellers will be asked to install the Covid Alert South Africa mobile app.”