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South African clothing retailers’ sales pick up despite weak economy

Truworths’ retail sales rose to R8.5 billion for the six months to the end of December.

Truworths logo. Picture: Supplied.
retail,Truworths,clothing
Business

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s Truworths half-year sales jumped 36 percent, it said on Thursday, the third clothing retailer this week to signal a pickup despite weak growth in Africa’s most advanced economy.

Truworths’ retail sales rose to R8.5 billion for the six months to the end of December, boosted by the inclusion of recent acquisitions British Shoestore Office, and children's clothing stores Earthchild and Naartjie.

Clothing retailers have been struggling to boost sales growth as shoppers battle high personal debt levels in a slowly growing economy. But Truworths Chief Executive Michael Mark said in August the credit environment was improving.

In-store credit is an important driver for South Africa’s clothing retailers and Truworths said in its update on Thursday that it was responsible for 60 percent of its sales.

On Monday, The Foschini Group said sales for the nine month to the end of December rose 33 percent driven by strong Christmas trading.

High-end retailer Woolworths, which sells clothing and food, said on Thursday it expected half-year headline earnings per share (EPS) to rise by 25 to 35 percent year-on-year with sales also forecast to rise.

Headline EPS, the main profit measure used in South Africa, strips out certain one-off times.

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