Massmart Holdings expects half-year profits to fall by as much as 26%, the South African retailer said on Monday citing muted sales growth.

It expects headline earning per share (HEPS) excluding costs for restructuring at Massdiscounters and Masscash of 124.7-141.5cents per share for the six months to June 30, down from a restated 168.5 cents a year earlier.

HEPS strips out certain one-off items and is the main profit measure in South Africa.

Massmart this month reported a 1.9% rise in sales while comparable store sales rose just 0.2 % for the 26 weeks to July 1.

Its Massdiscounters unit includes general merchandise discounter Game and high-tech retailer Dion Wired. Its Masscashunit comprises CBW, Jumbo and Shield.