By contrast sales in the summer months were less buoyant across the chain against a higher base established in the previous year. In addition 12 stores were enlarged or relocated. One of the most significant store developments for the division was the relocation and enlargement of the flagship Sandton City store.
Review of the year
The store reflects the latest new Foschini format which is modern yet flexible. The store has clearly captured the attention of Sandton shoppers and has elevated the reputation of the Foschini brand. The new store format adopted for Sandton has been used to guide future developments with appropriate changes to make it cost-effective for other locations. This is a major regional mall in Polokwane, Northern Province.
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This mall is located in Benoni, Gauteng. The Foschini, Donna-Claire and Fashion Express chains have traded very successfully in this centre, albeit in smaller stores than those in Mall of the North. A Foschini store was opened in this mall which is located in Maseru, Lesotho. This marked a reappearance of the Foschini brand in Lesotho after the original store was closed following riots and looting in The new store is trading well. This mall, located in Lusaka, Zambia, is the second in Zambia in which the division has opened both Foschini and Fashion Express stores. The first was Manda Hill Mall, also in Lusaka.
The new stores are trading well, at levels approaching those of the stores in the Manda Hill Mall. The programme of renovating the major CBD stores continued.
Following the success of the new format at the Foschini store in West Street, Durban, the Foschini store in Church Street, Pretoria, received a similar transformation. There were immediate trading benefits and the division has been able to present a positive image of the brand in this key retail node.
In most of the new-format stores in shopping centres the cosmetics departments have their own entrance, creating a standalone ambience. Repositioning of the Foschini cosmetics business continues with the goal of improving efficiencies and attracting customers. The governing strategy is to align the beauty offering with the fashion offering.
The challenge in this business is to keep abreast of new product launches whilst managing levels of existing stock. The business is highly responsive to promotions and requires a hands-on approach to its management. Competition is intense and the double-digit growth achieved is satisfactory.
Listing of store locations and hours
Total cellphone sales improved but the year ended on a softer note, particularly in the last quarter. Sales are highly dependent on the availability of stock and the division relies to a considerable extent on the collaboration of the suppliers MTN and Vodacom. The performance of womenswear, the largest component of the Foschini business, was above the annualised RLC average for the full year. This value chain is now well established in the market-place and it had another good year of trading.
Strategic changes for the next year are being put in place and better results are expected. The chain opened three new stores during the year, which will be accelerated once the strategic changes have been implemented. A decision had been taken to focus on getting optimal selections of merchandise into the stores rather than primarily pursuing growth in the store footprint. Five stores were closed, three of which were converted into Fashion Express stores.
During the year one store was closed and two new stores were opened in Mall of the North and the Cresta shopping centre in Gauteng. This took the chain to a total of 19 stores at the year-end, all of which are in key shopping centres. The new Waterfront store incorporates a number of innovative design concepts which have been well received and will influence future Foschini store designs.
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In addition, the Waterfront store prompted the launch of Lipsy, an international fashion brand carried by Topshop of London. Capital expenditure of almost R40 million was incurred on Foschini store openings, enlargements, relocations and refurbishments. The upgraded stores have shown good growth and they strengthen the Foschini brand. This value chain, created initially out of ailing Foschini stores, had another good year and has become well established in the marketplace.
The new store format has been widely accepted and will continue to be rolled out, including the conversion of the existing older stores. During the past year five new stores were opened. A further four are planned for the next year. The division is confident that this chain will continue to increase its profit contribution and that it can easily expand to or even stores.
With ten new stores already committed for the next year and a similar number envisaged for , this niche chain should have stores within three years.
With their high trading densities and low markdowns, Donna-claire stores are the most profitable stores in the division. Now in its third year, the Luella chain has not yet reached its full potential, having at this stage only 19 stores. One additional store was opened in the year, at the Loch Logan centre in Bloemfontein.
All are in key shopping centres. The current target market is the fashion-conscious woman with a passion for shoes. The division is confident that with expected improvements in the fashion ranges the Luella chain will become a positive contributor to profit within three years. It has the potential to be a store chain.
The increase was largely caused by Christmas trading being softer than expected. Current and projected stock levels are considered to be appropriate.
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There is general awareness that the South African consumer is under pressure and that levels of disposable income have declined. Despite this, the Foschini division considers that it is well positioned in terms of the number and quality of existing and planned stores and its flexible buying processes to withstand a trading downturn. Its objective is to emerge strongly, in order to capitalise on the upswing which will follow. The emerging market continues to grow and to fuel demand, and whilst the introduction of the NCA in June has softened credit demand in terms of the opening of new accounts, the long-term benefits of this legislation will ensure the sustainability of consumer credit.
In the next year, almost 30 new stores will be opened and approximately 15 high-turnover stores will be upgraded. These measures will add substantial turnover and improve the visibility of the division to the consumer.
Review of Operations and Services
This programme will be followed in the year by the opening or upgrading of another approximately 20 stores. In the next year alone more than 15 square metres of additional retail space will be added. Among the developments in which the division will have stores are the following regional shopping centres:.