June 1, 2018 / 5:52 AM / in 10 months

UPDATE 1-South African clothing retailer Mr Price FY profit up 21 pct

(Adds detail and dividend, CEO quote)

JOHANNESBURG, June 1 (Reuters) - South African clothing retailer Mr Price Group posted a 21 percent rise in full-year earnings, boosted by its MRP Apparel, Miladys and MRP Money divisions, the firm said on Friday.

Mr Price, known for its no-frills clothing and furniture stores, posted diluted headline earnings per share of 1,075 cents ($0.0847) for the year-ended March 31, versus 887.9 cents in the corresponding period last year.

Headline earnings per share is the main profit measure in South Africa and strips out certain one-off items.

Mr Price, which has grown for more than three decades by undercutting competitors and catering to thrifty shoppers’ fashion needs, said retail sales increased 7.6 percent to 20 billion rand while comparable store sales rose 5.6 percent.

“This was a solid performance by a dedicated and talented team, who re-focused and delivered after the under-performance of the previous year,” Chief Executive Officer Stuart Bird said in a statement.

Mr Price, which also sells homeware and furniture, is facing increased competition from international chains including Zara, H&M and Cotton On and has lost market share as local competitors, such as the restructured Edcon, mark down stock.

Mr Price declared a final gross cash dividend, down 5.6 percent, of 414.10 cents per share for the period ending March 31, but saw annual per share dividends increase by 3.9 percent to 693.1 cents. ($1 = 12.6942 rand) (Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)

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