Improved gross margins and tighter control on costs helped South African clothing retailer Foschini to a 75 per cent surge in annual headline earnings per share.

Headline earnings per share (EPS) - which strip out exceptional items and their tax effects - rose to 87.9 cents in the 12 months to 31 March compared to 50.1 cents a year before.

Foschini, which also owns outlets like Markhams and Sports Division, warned however that rising domestic inflation could hit sales. "Having regard to the devaluation of the rand and its effect on inflation and interest rates, it is necessary to move cautiously, but optimistically, into the new financial year," it said in a statement.