JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African clothing retailer Truworths International Ltd issued a trading update on Thursday showing slowing sales growth, sending its shares down more than 8 percent in early trade.
Truworths, which also named the head of French retailer Kiabi as its new chief executive, said sales increased 4.7 percent to 3.7 billion rand ($332.2 million) in the 18 weeks ended Nov. 2, well below the 7 percent growth rate achieved in the same period last year.
Shares in the company dropped as much as 8.4 percent and by 0807 GMT were down 3.5 percent at 71.90 rand, underperforming a 0.5 percent fall in the JSE All-Share index.
Once among the must-haves in fund managers' portfolios thanks to credit-fuelled spending in recent years, South African retailers have been among the worst-performing stocks over the past 12 months as credit providers pull back due to rising defaults.
There are concerns spending could be further affected in the run-up to the vital Christmas holidays, with analysts seeing rising interest rates. The ratio of household debt to disposable income is already at around 75 percent.
Truworths sells about three quarters of its products via its own-store credit cards.
The company named Jean-Christophe Garbino as CEO to replace Michael Mark, who has been at helm for 23 years, with effect from March next year. Garbino has been CEO since 2007 of Kiabi, a budget friendly fashion retailer which runs 450 stores in eight countries across Europe and Russia.
Mark is expected to remain on the board after his retirement, Truworths said.
(1 US dollar = 11.1365 South African rand)