May 24, 2018 / 1:33 PM / in a month

UPDATE 1-South African retailer TFG earnings miss forecast on higher expenses

(Adds shares, detail on expenses, background)

May 24 (Reuters) - South African clothing and homeware retailer The Foschini Group (TFG) on Thursday reported a smaller than expected rise in full-year earnings, hurt by higher expenses, sending its shares down as much as 4.8 percent.

The retailer’s diluted headline earnings per share (EPS), excluding acquisition costs, for the year ended March 31 rose 3.3 percent to 1,125.7 cents, below an average estimate of 1,155 cents in a Reuters poll of 13 analysts.

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

Total group trading expenses increased by 28.1 percent over the previous year, due to a rise in employee, occupancy and other operating costs.

The company, whose long-time chief executive Doug Murray is expected to retire on Sept. 3, has expanded in developed markets with the purchase of Britain’s Whistles in 2016 and Hobbs last year, as a weak economy, tighter credit rules and tough competition hampered growth at home.

Retail turnover rose 21.4 percent to 28.59 billion rand ($2.3 billion).

Shares in TFG were down 3.9 percent at 186.7 rand at 1302 GMT.

$1 = 12.4360 rand Reporting by Radhika Rukmangadhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter

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