February 21, 2019 / 5:39 AM / a year ago

South Africa's Woolworths half-year earnings drop

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 21 (Reuters) - South Africa’s Woolworths Holdings reported on Thursday a 2.9 percent drop in half-year earnings, while the retailer’s lacklustre fashion, beauty and home businesses dented sales.

Woolworths, which also has operations in Australia and New Zealand, said headline earnings per share (HEPS) fell to 200.4 cents, in the 26-weeks ended Dec. 23, from 206.3 cents a year earlier.

HEPS is the most widely watched profit gauge in South Africa and strips out certain one-off items.

Adjusted diluted HEPS decreased by 9.2 percent to 202.9 cents from 223.4 cents in the year-ago period.

The clothing, homeware and food retailer posted a tepid 1.9 percent rise in group sales to 39.4 billion rand ($2.82 billion), a drop from 2.5 percent increase in the 26-week period ended Dec. 24, 2017.

$1 = 13.9948 rand Reporting by Nqobile Dludla, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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