Woolworths Holdings, South Africa's largest retailer, has seen a 7.2% increase in full-year sales, boosted by strong growth at its grocery retail business.

The South African food and clothes retailer said food sales increased 9.3% during the period, ended 30 June.

In a trading update released yesterday (23 July), Woolworths said that it benefitted from the reduction of South African interest rates, which provided "some relief" to middle and upper income consumers, whilst fuel and food prices remained "relatively high".

The group predicted that earnings per share would be 40-50% higher than last year.

However, this is primarily the consequence of a one-off gain from its sale of 50% plus one share in Woolworths Financial Services to ABSA Group.

Headline EPS for the period is "unlikely to exceed" year-on-year growth of 5%, Woolworths added.

Woolworths full-year results are scheduled to be released on 27 August.