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Nov 12, 2015
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South Africa's Foschini Group lifts profit on clothing sales

Nov 12, 2015

South African fashion retailer The Foschini Group's half-year profit rose 16.6 percent on strong growth in clothing sales, it said on Thursday.

TFG, which in January bought Britain's Phase Eight, said headline earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations rose to 470.2 cents for the six months ended Sept. 30 from 403.3 cents a year earlier.

Photo: Foschini

Headline EPS is the main profit measure in South Africa and strips away certain one-off items.

The company, which also sells cosmetics, jewellery and furniture, said clothing sales jumped 46.6 percent on a year ago and customers preferred to pay cash.

TFG's cash sales increased 15.8 percent and now account for 55 percent of the company's sales.

Though its British unit contributed heavily to the cash component, customers in South Africa, where smart clothing and shoes are mostly bought using in-store credit, also played a big part, TFG Chief Financial Officer Anthony Thunstrom said.

Credit sales grew by 7 percent and are still recovering after a bubble in loans not backed by assets burst about two to three years ago, he said.

"We've seen credit sales trending upwards from November last year," Thunstrom said.

Although new rules at home on credit affordability could mean opening of in-store accounts will taper off, Thunstrom is not worried that this will hurt growth as cash sales and existing account holders will fill the gap.

Shares in TFG were up 1.79 percent at 145.776 at 1421 GMT.


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