JOHANNESBURG - Retailer Mr Price said on Thursday its headline earnings per share for the 26 weeks ended September rose 11.6 percent to 494.3 cents.

The company declared an interim gross cash dividend of 311.40 cents per share, an increase of 11.6 percent over the same period last year.

Sales growth in Mr Price's apparel and homeware segments were ahead of the market for the period, a positive indication of market share gains, chief finance officer Mark Blair said.

"To deliver double digit earnings and dividend growths in a tough economic and retail environment is a pleasing result," he said.

Total revenue grew 7.8 percent to R10.5 billion, supported by retail sales growth of 6.6 percent to R9.7 billion, versus 3.9 percent for comparable stores.

"Independent research has confirmed that consumers’ perception of MRP’s quality and fashion has improved relative to our competitors, and that our price positioning has been further entrenched," Blair said.

"Declining GDP growth in South Africa and rising fiscal challenges, as noted in the most recent medium term budget speech, points to further challenging trading conditions ahead for South African retailers."

"Despite this, we remain confident that our fashion value business model is well positioned to capture further market share," he added.

- African News Agency (ANA)