Edgars to open two new stores this year

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Edgars Store at Sam Levy's Village in Borrowdale, Harare

Ryan Chigoche 

HARARE – Listed clothing retailer Edgars Limited is continuing with its plans to expand its retail chain network by opening two new stores; Edgars Ascot and Jet Rusape.

The clothing retail giant has a network of 25 stores. Last year the retailer opened  five new stores and revamped  two. CEO Tje Ndlovu said the group is targeting to continue on this expansion drive this year as they are currently working on opening Edgars Ascot and Jet Rusape.

Ndlovu said the already challenging operating environment has become even more difficult to navigate compounded by exchange rate instability and inflationary pressures. “However, as a business we continue to focus on achieving sustainable growth, through crafting appropriate strategies and encouraging innovation to attain targets.

“The fashion industry is always changing based off current trends and with every trend comes a growth opportunity as well as sweating available data and incorporating technology advances to improve our shopping experiences,” Ndlovu added.

She call on government to do more in order to curb smuggling in the informal sector, as the high number of informal clothing retailers are chewing into the retail chain’s market share.

Textile industry experts have long  lamented Zimbabwe’s the sector’s decline as a result of intense competition from second-hand wear and low-cost imports, which are affecting traditional stores such as Edgars Stores.

Secondhand clothing is primarily trafficked into the country from Mozambique, but cheaper imports from South Africa and Botswana have increasingly grown popular. In addition, enormous supplies from China and Dubai are being sold primarily from, boutiques car boots and at time at the city pavements.

These have become shoppers’ preferred choice ahead of locally-made brands which the consumers find pricy. The Zimbabwean government has in the past banned the importation and sale of second-hand clothing to no avail as smuggling has been rampant in Zimbabwe for quite some time.

Normally these informal players are not affected by complex tax systems and inconsistent monetary policies which characterize the operating environment. This gives them a competitive edge over guy like Edgars.

Ndlovu said the authorities should do more to protect the formal players in the face of the thriving informal sector.

” Yes, we have seen an increase in boutiques and informal traders in the clothing sector. This has affected our market share to a certain extent. Although the authorities have put some policies in place to regulate informal players, we believe more can be done to stop smuggling by the informal sector,” Ndlovu said.

To make matters worse these cheap imports will be sold below manufacturing costs making formal retailers products uncompetitive.

The informal sector in Zimbabwe is expanding rapidly as the business environment has continued to deteriorates Currently it is believed that 70% of Zimbabweans are involved in informal economic activity on a personal, household, or business level.

Due to the high cost of borrowing the company made a decision to start borrowing in USD which is affordable, an effort which was greatly supported by their bankers. This has allowed Edgars to offer USD credit sales.

The listed retailer and manufacturer will soon be relocating its head offices to Harare where most of  their retail outlets are located.

 

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