* Full year EPS 6.97 rand vs 7.29 rand estimate
* Shares fall 7.5 percent
(Adds details, updates shares)
By Tiisetso Motsoeneng
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 19 Results from Shoprite
Holdings lagged consensus as the South African grocer
reported its slowest annual profit growth in 15 years on
Tuesday, setting up its shares for their biggest daily
percentage decline in more than eight years.
Retailers in Africa's most advanced economy are among the
worst performing stocks in recent months, reflecting investors'
fears about the impact on consumer spending of tepid economic
growth, rising fuel prices and high household debt.
Shoprite, Africa's biggest retailer, reported a 3.3 percent
rise in full-year headline earnings per share to 6.97 rand, well
below a 7.29 rand estimate in a Reuters poll of 16 analysts.
Headline EPS, the most widely watched profit gauge in South
Africa, strips out certain one-off items.
Shares in Shoprite tumbled as much 7.55 percent shortly
after the announcement. By 0750 GMT, the stock was down 6.28
percent at 143.99 rand, on course for its biggest daily
percentage decline since June 2006.
Sales increased 10.5 percent to 102.2 billion rand ($9.6
billion) thanks to 125 new stores and a robust showing by its
chains outside the home market.
The Cape Town-based company, which also runs stores in
several other African countries such as Nigeria, Angola and
Zambia, said outlets outside South Africa delivered a 27 percent
rise in sales - about three times the growth rate at home.
Shoprite, which targets lower-income consumers with
discounts on staples such as maize meal and potatoes, has been
pushing into the rest of Africa - whose nascent but fast-growing
middle class is boosting demand.
But it faces challenges in key markets such as Zambia and
Nigeria, due to heavy regulation, poor supply chain
infrastructure and a lack of shopping malls.
(1 US dollar = 10.6315 South African rand)
(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; editing by Ed Stoddard and