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S.African retailer TFG takes American Swiss jewellery brand to Australia
* Four American Swiss stores open already
* TFG plans to have six stores by end of 2018
* H1 group turnover up 28.6 pct
(Recasts with American Swiss expansion)
By Nqobile Dludla
JOHANNESBURG, Nov 8 (Reuters) - South African retailer TFG
(The Foschini Group) has expanded its American Swiss
jewellery brand into Australia in the hope of shaking up the
jewellery market there, Chief Executive Anthony Thunström said
The move aims to show whether TFG's local brands can thrive
in more developed markets than Sub-Saharan Africa where weak
economies are seen to be limiting their potential.
"We launched an American Swiss Australia. We just opened our
first four stores ... we're planning on opening another two so
we'll have six in total by the end of the year," Thunström told
Reuters after the clothing and homeware retailer reported
"The stores are quite a big step forward in relation to
other jewellery stores in Australia, it's a 3.5 billion
Australian dollar per annum market and we believe we can shake
that up and disrupt it a bit."
Thunström said the six stores were split between Melbourne,
Sydney and Brisbane and will give the group "enough of the
critical mass to gauge the reception and over the next six
months we'll see how they trade."
TFG, which owns 28 brands in 32 countries, started in
Australia in 2017 when it bought menswear chain Retail Apparel
Group (RAG), boosting TFG Australia's sales, up 170.7 percent in
Australian dollars for the six-months ended September.
Group turnover grew by 28.6 percent to 15.9 billion rand
($1.14 billion), while headline earnings per share (EPS) rose to
506 cents, up from 467.1 cents a year earlier.
Shares closed up 2.67 percent at 170.95 rand.
TFG has been making more of its brands available online in a
market where trading has shifted rapidly from brick and mortar
stores to online retail.
With the recent launch of online selling for two additional
TFG Africa brands, Donna and The FIX, online turnover through 22
of the group's 28 brands now contributes 7.9 percent of group
turnover, the company said.
On Wednesday TFG launched e-commerce platform
myTFGworld.com, pitting it against rivals such as Naspers'
Takealot.com online retailer and fashion retailer
Thunström said the group will leverage its 13.4 million
customers and omni-channel formula to stay ahead of competitors.
"We've had a big push with online from the last couple of
years but we've upped the ante over the last 12 months. We're
spending an increasingly amount of capex and operating
expenditure on our online offering," Thunström said.
Online shopping's share of total retail sales in South
Africa is still hovering around 1 percent, but barriers to
entry, such as a lack of internet access, are being overcome
while the convenience of online shopping is drawing more and
($1 = 13.9992 rand)
(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; editing by David Evans)
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