Mr Price’s clothing and financial services operations drove earnings growth in the first half, in which the homeware and sportswear operations were hit harder by the moribund economy. An interim dividend of 279c per share was declared, up 22.3% from the year-earlier interim dividend. Headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the six months to end-September grew 22.2% — right in the middle of recent guidance for a 20%-25% increase — to 442.9c, with diluted HEPS up 23.6%. Basic earnings per share (EPS) rose 21.9% and diluted EPS were up 23.2%. Revenue rose 6.7% to R9.8bn, made up of R9.1bn in retail sales (up 6.4% from a year earlier); R576m in other income, which includes cellular services (up 6% from a year earlier); and R67m in net finance income, which was up almost 90% from R35m a year earlier. Operating profit rose 22% to R1.5bn.

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