Leading South African fashion chain Truworths on Thursday reported a better-than-expected 43.7 percent jump in full-year earnings and said it was optimistic of solid growth in the current fiscal year.

The operator of 235 stores said in a statement its pre-tax profit soared to 457.8 million rand from 311 million rand in the year-ago period while turnover climbed to 1.98 billion rand from 1.59 billion rand in 2001.

Truworths said its earnings per share rose to 63.5 cents from 44.2 cents amid a higher market share, increased sales, better productivity and tighter cost control.

"Management is optimistic about prospects for substantial future growth through existing and new formats which it expects will offer superior returns," it said.

"Trading prospects for the 2003 financial year are exciting. The business continues to perform particularly well, with sales growth for the seven week period to August 18, 2002, above plan."