Wal-Mart's South African unit Massmart says H1 profit down 25 pct

JOHANNESBURG Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:56am EDT

JOHANNESBURG Aug 28 (Reuters) - South African retailer Massmart reported a 25.2 percent fall in half-year profit on Thursday as debt-laden consumers battling rising living costs cut back on spending.

Massmart, majority-owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc, said diluted headline earnings per share totalled 166.4 cents in the six months ended June compared with 222.6 cents a year earlier.

Headline EPS, the main profit measure in South Africa, strips out certain one-off items.

Sales rose 10 percent to 35.7 billion rand ($3.36 billion) for the 26 weeks ended June 29.

Retailers are among the worst-performing stocks in Johannesburg over the past 12 months, reflecting investor fears about the impact of tepid economic growth, rising fuel prices and high household debt on consumer spending.

(1 US dollar = 10.6130 South African rand) (Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee)

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