JOHANNESBURG, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Middle to high-end clothing retailer Truworths International Ltd is planning to revamp stores in South Africa and the UK in an effort to capture market share and drive sales in those markets, its Chief Executive said on Friday.
The South African-listed clothing, shoes, jewellery and homeware retailer said it would launch the new format stores in March and June in the UK and in April in South Africa.
In South Africa, which accounts for 70 percent of the retailers sales, it will open an upmarket store called CONTEXT in Cape Town, offering a collection of fashion, beauty and homeware aimed at female customers, CEO Michael Mark said at the firm’s half-year results presentation.
In the UK, in collaboration with Nike and other big brands, a “store of the future” — described as linking the experience of store-based shopping with digital technology — will be launched on London’s Oxford Street in fashion footwear store Office and in sneaker retailer Offspring in Selfridges.
Truworths acquired the Office chain in 2015 but the business has been under pressure due to tough trading conditions in the UK and the collapse of House of Fraser where it had several concessions.
“Office clearly has to move with the times,” Mark told Reuters in a telephone interview. “It’s been very tough there.”
Many British retailers, including Marks & Spencer and House of Fraser, are closing shops in the face of competition from online retailers such as Amazon, a squeeze on consumer budgets and a change in Britons’ spending habits away from fashion towards experiences such as holidays and entertainment.
Mark is betting on the firm’s aggressive expansion into online sales, which already contribute a third of Office’s revenues, and the conversion of a west London warehouse to a fast-response digital hub for London and mainland Europe to drive sales in the region.
In October the firm, which reported a 2 percent rise in half-year sales on Thursday, brought in Lorenzo Moretti, then vice-president of global retail at consumer electronics company Sonos, to head up Office.
Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Kirsten Donovan