South African discount retailer Pepkor Holdings reported on Tuesday a 7.2% rise in sales in the Christmas quarter from a year earlier despite the negative impact on stock inflows from port congestion at home.

The PEP and Ackermans clothing brands owner said group revenue rose to R26 billion in the three months to December 31, its fiscal first quarter.

Group merchandise sales increased by 5.5% and like-for-like sales rose by 4.1%.

Sales benefited from new store openings and demand for baby, younger children’s and school clothing as well as adult wear. The tech division maintained sales levels amid a generally weak durables market, Pepkor said.

Pepkor, which also has operations in the rest of Africa and Brazil, said the significant disruption to port operations it reported in November continues to have a negative impact on stock inflows.

“The group’s merchandise and logistics teams have been proactive in addressing delays and implementing solutions to expedite and advance stock inflows,” the retailer added.

The challenging backdrop has also hit upmarket rivals Truworths, TFG and Woolworths and discounter Mr Price.

South African state-owned logistics company Transnet has said backlogs at ports were due to factors including adverse weather and under-investment in equipment and maintenance.