Edgars in Jet expansion

HARARE - Listed clothing retailer Edgars Stores Limited (Edgars) plans to open three new outlets of its budget shop — Jet Stores (Jet).

The group began trading under the South African Jet banner in November 2011. It said the move is part of its expansion drive and plans to harness the mass market.

“Our intention is to open up in downtown Harare because that is where the bulk of our customers are. Our belief is that we need to bring our products to the customers’ doorstep and be closer to the people as much as possible,” said the group’s operations director Vusa Mpofu.

He said Jet’s affordable pricing will bring value for money to customers.

This comes as the group’s managing director Linda Masterson last month said they were continuing their expansion drive after securing five premises. Jet is one of the largest clothing retailers in southern Africa with more than 321 outlets across South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

In her trading update, Masterson said Edgars is on course to achieve a turnover above $65 million by year end following a 4,8 percent increase in unit sales during the first four months of the year.

She said retail sales jumped 13 percent compared to the same period last year.

The increase in sales was driven by a 2,5 percent increase in credit accounts to 186 029 from the December last year figure of 181 029, while the debtors book marginally improved a percentage up to 77,5 percent in the period.

Masterson, however, said active accounts decreased to 73,7 percent compared to 78,9 percent in previous year.

She attributed the drop to customers being heavily indebted.

Masterson pointed out that operating profit was way above target but could not give the actual figures, saying it was “still too early to divulge such information.”

Gross margins, however, decreased to 45,2 percent against a budget of 46,1 percent partly due to marking down action.

Edgars targets around $67 million turnover by year end, trading profit of 15 percent of turnover, profit after tax of up to $4,7 million as well as gross margins of 46 percent.

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