February 21, 2019 / 3:46 PM / in a month

South Africa's Truworths first-half earnings drop on lower spending

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 21 (Reuters) - South African fashion retailer Truworths International reported a 5.1 percent fall in half-year earnings on Thursday, weighed down by weak consumer confidence and lower spending at home and Brexit uncertainty overseas.

Truworths, which also runs British footwear chain Office, said diluted headline earnings per share for the 26 weeks to Dec. 30 fell to 360 cents from 379.3 cents.

That was slightly above the average estimate of 357 cents returned by a Refinitiv poll of 11 analysts. Headline EPS, a widely watched profit measure in South Africa, strips out certain one-off, non-trading items.

Retail sales rose 2 percent to 10.5 billion rand ($750.40 million).

Truworths continued to experience difficult trading conditions in both its main markets.

In South Africa it is dealing with low economic growth, high unemployment, modest increases in negotiated wages and higher average fuel and utility prices, while Brexit uncertainty continues to negatively impact the UK economy. ($1 = 13.9925 rand) (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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