SA’s biggest clothing retailer, Edcon, will accelerate space growth this year, chief financial officer Steve Binnie said yesterday, ending a conservative two or three years for the retailer.
"We are looking to expand about 5% and have invested in new stores," he said, without giving any projected store targets.
"We are evaluating countries, and looking for opportunities, especially further north."
The company’s "transitional projects", costing about R109m this quarter, aimed at growing the business and driven by CEO Jürgen Schreiber, were drawing to a close, Mr Binnie said. These projects include a real estate expansion strategy, a review of merchandise ranges and availability of goods, as well as an in-depth review of operational processes across the business.
"We are positive about growth prospects in the months ahead and we are certain that our transitional projects will bear fruit next year," Mr Schreiber said.
Customers flocked to its many retail outlets to purchase cellular goods, clothes for children and footwear in the quarter ended December, the company said.
Total retail sales grew 12,3% and same-store sales 10,5% compared with the corresponding period last year.
Mr Binnie said consumers seemed to be in better shape than they had been in the past 12 to 18 months. "It was a good Christmas; we are pleased by the result."
The Edgars department stores division, which includes Edgars, Boardmans and Red Square, increased retail sales 13%.
CNA’s retail sales improved 11,1%, driven by sales of cellular, digital goods and confectionery, while the discount division, consisting of Jet, Jet Mart, Legit and Discom, grew retail sales 11,7%.
Credit sales contributed 51% to total retail sales for the third quarter, up from 49% in the corresponding period. "This growth was achieved by continued credit marketing efforts, rather than a relaxation of credit granting criteria."