The country’s second-largest grocer Pick n Pay reported that its pre-tax profit fell by 25.5% to R682.1m (£61m) in the first half to 31 August, despite sales growth of 6% to R25.2bn (£2.26bn). Chief executive Nick Badminton described the past 12 months as the most challenging the company had faced as costs rose faster than inflation. The average till receipt decreased at Pick n Pay in the period, which undermined a trend towards increased numbers of customers.