South Africa’s TFG expects its half-year profit to fall by 20% as sales declined due to store closures during COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, the retailer said on Tuesday as its shares were down more than 5%.

Previously known as The Foschini Group, TFG said basic headline earnings per share – the main profit measure in South Africa – would fall by 105.3 cents in the six months to September 30, from 526.7 cents a year earlier.

By 1408 GMT, shares fell to R86.61, down 5.03%.

The fashion retailer said trading conditions across South Africa, the United Kingdom and Australia continued to be challenging, with consumer spending under significant pressure, exacerbated by further job losses and social distancing rules.

In Australia, trade has been impacted by the re-introduction of lockdown measures in certain states. The UK stores started reopening from mid-June, with a very slow ramp up as social distancing rules and European restrictions remain largely in force.

As a result, sales for the 22 weeks ended August 29 declined by 29.7%. Online sales grew 29.7% as customers preferred shopping in this way, but that growth was not enough to lift overall sales given its small contribution.