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By
Reuters
Published
Jan 20, 2009
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S.Africa's Woolworths H1 EPS seen up 90-100 pct

By
Reuters
Published
Jan 20, 2009

* EPS gets boost from financial services sale

* 26-week sales up 8.1 pct

* Headline EPS seen up 8-13 pct

(Adds details)

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 20 (Reuters) - South African retailer Woolworths Holdings Ltd (WHLJ.J) expects to report a 90-100 percent jump in first-half earnings per share thanks to a one-off boost from the sale of its financial services business.



The food and clothing retailer said on Tuesday headline EPS -- which strips out certain one-off, non-trading and financial items -- was expected to rise 8-13 percent in the six months to end December.

Sales in the 26 weeks to end December rose 8.1 percent, lifted by higher food prices and new stores. On a comparable stores basis, sales edged up 0.7 percent.

South African retailers have been struggling as consumers in Africa's biggest economy rein in spending to cope with relatively high interest rates and inflation.

Shares in Woolworths, which has no connection to the British retailer of the same name that closed its doors this month, rose 0.8 percent to 12.60 rand by 1411 GMT, outpacing a slightly weaker Johanensbrug mid-cap index .JMIDC.

(Reporting by Rebecca Harrison and Gugulakhe Lourie)

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