South African retail group Woolworths Holdings is forecasting a rise of up to 30% in its annual earnings after clothing sales jumped 12.6%.

Comparable store sales for clothing grew 5.9% for the 52 weeks to 24 June. For the group as a whole, sales increased 11.8% compared to the same period last year, while comparable store sales rose 7.1%.

Meanwhile, general merchandise grew by 7% and by 4.7% in comparable stores. 

However, sales in Australia and New Zealand declined 2.6% in Australian dollar terms, with sales in comparable stores falling 6.6%.

Woolworths' retail space, including Africa, increased 3.6% year-on-year. Some 59 local franchise stores have also been converted to corporate, while 16 will remain franchised.

The retailer has forecast up to a 30% increase in annual earnings, after higher sales and gains from foreign exchange.