The retailer, with more than 3,500 stores across Africa, said diluted headline earnings per share came in at 621.4 cents in the 26 weeks ended Dec. 31, from 577.5 cents a year earlier.

Group sales rose by 13.9% to 121.1 billion rand ($6.35 billion), extending its uninterrupted market share gains in its core South African supermarket business to 58 months, Shoprite said.

Supermarkets South Africa, which contributes about 80.5% to the group's topline, witnessed a 14.6% jump in sales to 97.5 billion rand. The core business benefited from the acquisition of 94 stores from Walmart-owned Massmart. Like-for-like sales climbed 6.3%.

Sales in the rest of Shoprite's stores in Africa rose 6.2% in South African rand terms and by 20% in constant currency.

The group's 23.6% reported gross margin is slightly higher year-on-year due to supply chain efficiencies that helped increase volumes and respite in fuel prices over the six months, the company said.

($1 = 19.0638 rand)

(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Kim Coghill and Eileen Soreng)