Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  29 Jan 2012

RETAILING: Boost For Clothing Sector


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CAPE TOWN-based diversified credit retailer, TFG (The Foschini Group), has bought its longstanding clothing manufacturing supplier, Prestige Clothing, to improve its competitive advantage in a move that has sent positive ripples through the local clothing sector.

Prestige Clothing will be streamlined and grown to manufacture exclusively for TFG in order to give it further competitive advantage.

Doug Murray, CEO of TFG, says the ability to provide ‘fast fashion’ and quick response manufacturing has become a crucial element for successful retailing. The strategic acquisition of Prestige will aid TFG’s supply chain management and control and expand its world class manufacturing ability, he says.

He adds that Prestige Clothing has been a TFG supplier and valued strategic partner for the past 20 years. Furthermore, the acquisition was in line with the group’s strategy of investing for the long term and its commitment to developing local talent in the fast turnaround manufacturing environment.

Prestige effectively handled 25% of TFG’s local manufacturing in the past and we worked closely together to set new benchmarks, creating specific ways to shorten lead times while maintaining consistent quality and costs.

In order to better compete with international low-cost manufacturers, we signed a service level agreement with Prestige 2 years ago. This brought our two companies closer together and we contracted them to produce a specific monthly volume for TFG on an annual basis. This arrangement proved so successful that Prestige became TFG’s manufacturing cornerstone. The acquisition was a natural next step.”

Murray says that in addition to developing local talent, the development would provide flexibility and a streamlining of processes to meet the increasing manufacturing demands of its different trading divisions.

TFG already has existing in-house clothing and textile designers and we want to grow this team and invest in making our South African manufacturing more able to meet the increased demands for seasonal high-fashion merchandise, from increasingly fashion-savvy TFG customers.

The streamlined processes will ultimately allow for the necessary speed and flexibility to produce and TFG is also optimistic that this will give the group the potential to grow market share.”

TFG, which aims to be the leading fashion lifestyle retailer in Africa, consists of women and men’s clothing chains, jewellery, sport, home ware and furniture retail divisions, as well as financial services.

The group recently reported good Christmas trading performance with sales growth of 17.3%.

Prestige was started by clothing industry stalwart Graham Choice over 22 years ago following his involvement in all aspects of clothing manufacturing. He grew Prestige Clothing from 6 to more than 800 employees despite the tough years for the clothing industry which has been buckling under the recession and globalisation.  He has served on the council and was part of the executive management of the Clothing Textile, Footwear and Leather SETA (CTFL SETA) which manages all aspects of training within in the industry and for 10 years as Chairman of the Garment Manufacturers Association (GMA).

For five years he led the Cape Clothing and Textile Cluster (CCTC) which was responsible for achieving value chain alignment with retailers, clothing manufactures and textile suppliers. And for 2 years he headed the Cape Clothing Association, the largest clothing manufacturing association in South Africa, and serves on the executive board for Apparel Manufacturers of SA (AMSA), the national association representing all clothing manufacturers to ensure effective alignment of national policies between government, labour and employers.

He is also a director of The Foschini Group’s Fast Fashion Cluster and will join TFG as a general manager.

He says it is “very exciting to be joining a highly successful retail portfolio of fashion, home ware, jewellery and sportswear brands with over 1 800 stores.

The 16 retail brands which are currently part of TFG include @home, @homelivingspace, Charles & Keith, Exact!, Fabiani, Foschini, Donna-Claire, Fashion Express, Luella, Markham, Sportscene, Due South, Totalsports, American Swiss, Matrix and Sterns.  In addition, TFG has a sizeable financial services business as well as the controlling interest in the RCS Group.

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