27 of 2021

                               Newsletter No 27 / 23 July 2021                           

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SACTWU deeply disturbed at the looting and burning of factories

The COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) voices its deep concern about the serious damage that the recent looting in KwaZulu-Natal and elsewhere has caused to workers and their families.

In particular, we are deeply disturbed at the looting and burning of factories and other workplaces.

For example, in Isithebe, a brand new clothing factory (Kingspark Manufacturers) which was set up only in September last year, has been completely destroyed. Machinery and raw materials have been looted, and nothing remains. In the process, 600 much-needed jobs supporting 3000 family members in the poorest part of the country are now lost, in this instance alone.

In recent times the management and workers of Kingspark have been successfully participating in an innovative workplace productivity collaboration pilot project – to test and demonstrate the international best practice intervention by the International Labour Organisation’s SCORE program. All their hard collaborative work to grow the company and its jobs has now been undone, and the multiplier benefits to the broader industry lost.

Similar incidences of looting and serious damage to domestic industrial infrastructure are being caused in other areas, such as in Mayville, Section 6 in Newcastle, and elsewhere.

The consequence is that thousands more jobs could now be permanently lost.

We respect our citizens’ constitutional right to peacefully protest.

We also agree that there is a crisis of unemployment, inequality and poverty that must be solved.

However, the current lootings, arson and other forms of damage is nothing but criminality, and is counterproductive to the solving of our problems.

We cannot accept that while, together with national government and employers, we have been working extremely hard to save and create local industrial jobs,  the future sustainability of our efforts are being undermined by such horrific and un-ashamed criminal activity.

We call on the police and other law enforcement agencies to clamp down hard on such unacceptable violent conduct.  The perpetrators must be arrested and prosecuted with the full might of the law, without fear or favour.

We call on all our members, other workers and all South Africans in general to condemn this criminal conduct, and to distance themselves from it.

We extend our compassion to workers and their families, who are the innocent victims of this shame that has been bestowed on our industry and country.

Issued by  André Kriel   SACTWU    General Secretary

If further comment or information is required, kindly contact the SACTWU’s KZN Provincial Secretary, Mr Mbaliyezwe Nxumalo, on cell number 068 292 7323.

Factories burnt and or looted in Newcastle are:-

“Shen-li, Scarlet Dawn, Knitting Fashion, Thanda Clothing, Summer Sunshine and Gia Li “ – Silindile Malembe (Administrator Newcastle Branch – SACTWU)

“The biggest casualty to these job losses is the Madadeni Industrial Factories, where over 3000 jobs are accounted for to have been lost and millions of rands in goods looted. I am saddened to report that the textile industry in Newcastle will suffer a major setback, as it was beginning to show signs of recovery since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic”    Newcastle Mayor Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba

CGCSA asks government to protect retail, manufacturing, services sectors

The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) has asked the government to effectively protect its retail, manufacturing and services sector members and facilitate safe passage of delivery vehicles and employees, which is essential to restore supply of food, pharmaceuticals and other essentials to areas affected by looting and violence.

“CGCSA is also urging the government to urgently open critical road networks such as the N3, and suspend tolls to enable the free flow of traffic,” it said.

CGCSA said it is particularly concerned about the impact of the disruptions on food security across the country and called for government support to avert an emerging humanitarian crisis.

The appeal comes following the widespread destruction food and other manufacturing facilities, supermarkets and grocery stores as well as distribution infrastructure in Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) and parts of Gauteng.

“As CGCSA members are assessing the losses and damage caused, they are also rebuilding capacity to resume serving customers as soon as possible,” the council was quoted as saying by South African media reports.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s retail sales grew at a softer pace in May, according to data from Statistics South Africa. Retail sales rose by 15.8 per cent year on year in May, after a 95.8 per cent growth in April. Economists had forecast a 12.2 per cent growth.

Crowds clashed with police and ransacked or set ablaze shopping malls in cities across South Africa early last week, with dozens of people reported killed, as grievances unleashed by the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma led to the worst violence in years.

TFG – impact of civil unrest on operations

The Group is saddened by the current unfortunate civil unrest and widespread looting and vandalism in KwaZulu Natal (KZN) and parts of Gauteng Province, which have not only impacted its operations and customers, but also its employees, their families, and the supply chains that support the stores in those regions. TFG, to date, has thankfully recorded no fatalities as a result of the current events.

As at the beginning of July the Group had approximately 3 000 stores in Africa, with plans to open another c.200 stores by the end of the 2022 financial year. To date, approximately 190 South African stores have been looted and damaged to varying degrees. Furthermore, all KZN stores are currently not trading due to safety concerns. A distribution centre operated by one of our logistics service providers as well as the manufacturing premises of one of our local suppliers have also been damaged by fire during the unrest, the impacts of which are not material to our supply chain.

The situation remains uncertain, although there are encouraging signs of some parts of KZN and Gauteng having settled. The Group will continue to assess the damage caused to its stores and is quantifying losses to be recovered through its insurance policies. The loss of profit due to business interruption is also being quantified. The Group has appropriate insurance cover and has notified its insurers accordingly. Further, SASRIA has provided assurances through a public statement that it has the financial means to honour claims, although delays are expected due to numerous businesses and industries being impacted.

The Group’s immediate priority remains the well-being and safety of its employees, customers, assets and supply chain partners. Trade continues as normal in the rest of the Group’s South African and African regions supported by strong supply chains. This includes the Group’s own manufacturing capacity which remains largely unaffected, which is encouraging. The Group also has a diverse international footprint which continues to trade strongly especially when compared to the previous financial year. It is not possible at this time to determine the impact on the results for the half year as there is no certainty as to when stores will resume trading.

The Group, working with all its stakeholders, including the South African Government, will start the process of rebuilding and restocking the affected stores when it is safe to do so. The timelines to reopen will be quick in some locations whilst in others will be dependent on the nature and extent of the damage and on the availability of the relevant resources and supply chains.

We are grateful to our security teams, our employees and supply chain partners who have worked tirelessly with local law enforcement, unions, property managers and other relevant parties to minimize further damage and losses.

TFG, as a South African listed company, remains committed to supporting our Government in the rebuilding and progressing of all the initiatives aimed at improving the lives of our South African people and remains steadfastly committed to promoting local job creation and upskilling of our people.

The Group will update shareholders if there is any material change in the situation.

Pepkor – voluntary update on civil unrest

Shareholders and noteholders are advised that Pepkor’s operations have been impacted by the ongoing civil unrest over the past week which has been concentrated predominantly in the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces (the “affected areas”) of South Africa. As a business we condemn this behaviour and are deeply saddened by not only the destruction of property, infrastructure and assets, but more importantly, the loss of life caused by this situation and the long-term effects this will have on the South African economy and the livelihoods of the group’s employees and customers.

To date, 489 retail stores representing approximately 9% of the group’s total retail stores have been damaged and looted as well as one of the JD Group’s distribution centres in Cato Ridge, KwaZulu-Natal. The JD Group operates a total of 16 distribution centres countrywide and its KwaZulu-Natal stores, once reopened, will be serviced in the short-term from its other distribution centres. As a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of our employees and customers, a varying number of retail stores were intermittently closed across the affected areas over the past week.

Our first priority is the safety and well-being of our employees to ensure the sustainability of our business. A number of contingency plans have been put in place to keep our employees safe and to secure our assets.

The group’s supply chain and distribution operations in the affected areas have been severely disrupted and numerous additional measures, including tactical security, have been put in place to safeguard the group’s distribution infrastructure and assets. The group continues to closely monitor the situation and is in constant contact with law-enforcement agencies, security service providers and other relevant stakeholders.

The group is not yet in a position to assess and determine the full cost of the damage suffered. The group has insurance cover in place to mitigate the losses incurred.

The process to clean up, reopen and restock stores has commenced on a limited basis and is gaining momentum as the current situation stabilises and logistics operations and infrastructure in affected areas are restored. Project teams have further initiated recovery plans to restore operations as soon as possible.

Pepkor will advise stakeholders of any further developments should this be considered necessary.

Woolies – impact of civil unrest

Woolies echoes the sadness and deep concern expressed by many over the civil unrest in the province of KwaZulu Natal (KZN) and parts of Gauteng, which escalated into widespread looting and destruction of property in the affected areas. This has had a significant impact on our operations in these areas, particularly in KZN, as well as on our employees, customers and the broader community. We are grateful that none of our employees in these affected areas suffered any injury.

All of our stores in KZN as well as a number of stores in Gauteng last week had to temporarily close, prioritising the safety of our employees and our customers. Our online delivery services and certain suppliers in those areas are also significantly affected given significant damage to their assets. Eleven Woolworths stores have been looted and severely damaged with nine of the eleven stores in KZN and two in Gauteng. Although looters gained entry to the Woolworths Maxmead Distribution Centre (DC) in KZN the infrastructure was not severely damaged and has been secured, together with our other DCs. Operations have resumed and we have prioritized the provision of food into KZN.

We are working closely with our suppliers and partners to ensure the ongoing availability of stock. This is largely dependent on maintaining the safety of key transport routes, the ability of local suppliers to continue production, the ability of our staff to access our stores, and the safety of our logistics and distribution operations. We are also engaging with government and industry bodies to support efforts to create a safe environment for the resumption of normal business activity. Where we believe it is safe and feasible to do so, we have begun reopening stores in most areas of KZN.

Woolies has SA Special Risk Insurance Assurance (SASRIA) cover in place in respect of material damage caused by the rioting, together with the related business interruption cover. We are quantifying the damage caused to our stores and DC and will lodge the relevant claims timeously.

We would like to express our deep gratitude to our stores, supply chain and DC teams, as well as our security personnel and partners who have worked tirelessly to protect our business. We would also like to thank all of our customers for their understanding and continued support as we work our way through these challenges, and the community watch groups who also assisted where they could. The last 18 months has demonstrated the resilience of our business, driven by the passion and commitment of our people. The Woolies board and management team will continue to make decisions anchored in the business’s core values and are committed to ensuring long-term value creation for all stakeholders.

Trading update

Group sales for the 52 weeks ended 27 June 2021 (‘current year’) increased by 9.7% compared to the 52 weeks ended 28 June 2020 (‘prior year’) and by 5.9% in constant currency terms.

Trading conditions in the second half of the financial year are not directly comparable to the prior year, given the extensive impact of the pandemic. Trade across the Group continued to improve, notwithstanding the continued uncertainty and business disruption exacerbated by the delay of the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out, further outbreaks and related lockdowns across both South Africa and Australia. The improved trade performance coupled with strong working capital management and the proceeds arising from the property sales in Australia, have resulted in positive cash flows and a significant reduction in net debt across the Group.

Southern Africa

South Africa’s recovery during this phase of the Covid-19 pandemic has been set back by the onset of the third wave of infections occurring towards the end of the fourth quarter. The consequential level 4 restrictions have further dampened already-weak consumer confidence, which is expected to limit discretionary spend. Furthermore, the civil unrest and related widespread destruction of property will also negatively impact economic conditions, consumer sentiment and constrain our ability to trade in impacted areas. The rebuild and repair of affected stores is likely to take some time, following the assessment of the damage, and trading will be dependent on the resumption of supply, logistics, and operational activities at these stores.

The Woolworths Food business grew both market share and volumes during the period despite the high base set in the prior year driven by stockpiling ahead of the first lockdown. Sales for the current year grew by 6.9%, and by 5.7% in comparable stores, on price movement of 5.2% and underlying product inflation of 4.9%. Net space increased by 0.6%. Sales in the second half of the current year grew by 3.2%, and by 16.9% over a two-year period, reflective of the investment in innovation and our robust business model. Whilst there has been some reversion in customer shopping behaviour, frozen foods and groceries continue to deliver strong growth. Due to the continued Covid-related trading restrictions, trade in cafés, and wine and beverages remains negatively impacted. We continue to invest in price in key product categories to improve our value proposition, while remaining focused on product quality, innovation and convenience. Online sales grew by 117.9% over the current year, contributing 2.3% to our South African Food sales. This was further supported by the expanded Click-and- Collect offering and the roll out of our on-demand delivery service, Woolies Dash.

The sales performance of the Woolworths Fashion, Beauty and Home (‘FBH’) business continues to be impacted by several factors, including the constrained environment, the decline in demand for formalwear, as well as our initiatives to streamline our private label offerings and rationalise unproductive space. Total revenue for the current year increased by 3.5% and by 4.2% in comparable stores, while sales in the second half of the current year grew by 24.1% on last year’s non-comparable base. Price movement in FBH was 7.5%, and 5.3% in Fashion, due to the higher promotional activity in the prior year. Online sales grew by 114.4%, contributing 4.1% to South African sales. The reduction in net space of 6.4% has translated into improved trading densities.

The Woolworths Financial Services book reflected a year-on-year increase of 0.7% at the end of June 2021 (2.0% at 30 June 2020). The impairment rate for the 12 months ended 30 June 2021 was 5.3%, compared to 7.9% in the prior year, reflecting the focus on customer relief and collection initiatives.

Australia and New Zealand

In Australia, stronger economic fundamentals, improved consumer confidence and restrictions on international travel, supported inward focused consumption and buoyed retail spend. This was despite the intermittent snap lockdowns across major cities and an extended three-month lockdown in the State of Victoria during the first half of the current year. Footfall in central business districts and airport locations remains well below pre Covid- 19 levels.

David Jones sales over the 52-week period increased by 2.3% and by 0.9% in comparable stores, with second half sales up by 17.1%. Online sales increased by 24.4% and contributed 17.3% to total sales for the current year. In line with our stated intention of exiting unproductive space, trading space was further reduced by 6.3%. Sales in our Elizabeth Street flagship store grew by 16.6% during the current year.

Country Road Group delivered strong sales growth of 13.4% over the current year and by 15.3% in comparable stores, with second half sales up by 39.5%. This result was underpinned by the robust performance of the Country Road brand and through refreshed product offerings across all brands. Online sales increased by 30.7% and contributed 29.7% to total sales, while trading space was reduced by 2.8% for the current year.

Shareholders are advised that Woolies’s results for the 52 weeks ended 27 June 2021 are scheduled to be announced on the Stock Exchange News Service (SENS) on or about 26 August 2021. As per the Group’s SENS announcement on 20 May 2021, a further trading statement providing specific guidance will be issued ahead of these results.

Pick n Pay – impact of civil unrest on the group

Alongside all South Africans, the Pick n Pay Group was saddened by the civil unrest and destruction last week in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and parts of Gauteng.

The safety and well-being of our staff and customers is always our first priority. At the peak of the unrest, a significant number of Pick n Pay and Boxer stores in the affected areas were closed as a precaution. As a result of this swift action, casualties were kept to a minimum, and the small number of colleagues who were injured are now thankfully well on the road to recovery.

As the situation began to improve from Wednesday 14 July, the Group was able to re- open stores in KZN and Gauteng that were closed as a precaution, and a large majority of all stores are now fully open and trading. We express our sincere thanks to our colleagues, the many communities up and down the country, and law enforcement authorities, who have worked with such determination to bring an end to the violence, uphold the rule of law, and begin the task of rebuilding.

The civil unrest had a significant impact on the Group’s operations in the affected areas – particularly in KZN – as a result of physical damage to property, looting of stock, and an interruption to trade.

136 stores across the Group were looted and/or damaged by fire: 68 Pick n Pay stores and 68 Boxer stores. Out of this total, 28 were Pick n Pay company-owned supermarkets, 15 were Pick n Pay franchise stores, and 64 were Boxer supermarkets. The remaining 29 stores comprised Pick n Pay Clothing stores (2), Express Convenience stores (14), independent Market stores (9), and Boxer Build stores (4). In addition, 76 liquor stores across Pick n Pay and Boxer were looted and/or burned, but were not in any event trading due to the government’s Covid-19 restrictions.

The Group moved rapidly to implement its formal disaster recovery plans to restore affected operations in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, and to replenish stock levels in the affected regions. Pick n Pay and Boxer teams have worked tirelessly together in recent days to achieve the following:
• of the 136 stores which were looted and/or burned, 32 have already been cleaned, repaired and have either been reopened or will reopen by the end of this week. A number of looted liquor stores are also ready to be reopened when Covid-19 regulations permit
• by the end of this week, we expect the proportion of the store network still closed to have reduced to 7%
• two Pick n Pay distribution centres in Pinetown, KZN were looted and damaged. Through tremendous teamwork, by the end of this week, both of these DCs will have been repaired and restocked, and will recommence operations
• in the meantime, Pick n Pay and Boxer stores in KZN have been serviced from the Group’s Boxer distribution centre in Lynnfield, KZN – an example of exceptional teamwork between our Boxer and Pick n Pay teams
• the process of restocking stores across the region has been greatly assisted by our national, centralised distribution capability. Well over 200 trucks have so far been routed into KZN from as far afield as the Western Cape and our Longmeadow DC in Gauteng to bring vital stocks to our stores in the affected areas
• the Group is using its Feed the Nation programme to provide emergency relief to communities in the affected areas who are suffering from the damage to essential infrastructure, and are finding it difficult to obtain essential food and groceries

Although the situation remains fragile in some areas, the Group is tremendously encouraged by the progress it has achieved in recent days, and is confident of its ability fully to restore its operations in the affected areas. The Group has managed its cash resources and liquidity carefully over the course of the Covid-19 crisis, and as such is in a strong position to direct capital to where it is needed most in rebuilding its Pick n Pay and Boxer operations in KZN and Gauteng as quickly and effectively as possible.

It is not yet possible to give a full assessment of the financial cost of the damage and disruption. The Group has South African Special Risk Insurance Association (SASRIA) cover in place in respect of both material damage and loss of profits (business interruption) associated with such events. The Group is working closely with its insurers and loss adjustors to quantify the damage and losses in order to lodge the necessary claims as soon as possible. The Group expects that its insurance will cover a substantial majority of its losses, subject to deductibles, delays and any unforeseen impacts arising from the number and extent of claims submitted by impacted businesses.

The Group will provide its stakeholders with further information once it has greater clarity on the impact of the unrest and disruption.

Truworths – business upadate for the 52-week period

Over the last 18 months the COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted retail businesses across the globe. Truworths International Limited (the ‘Group’) continued to be materially affected by the impact of the pandemic in its main markets in South Africa and the United Kingdom (‘UK’) during its 52-week financial period ended 27 June 2021 (the ‘current period’). While there were no hard lockdowns in South Africa during the current period, various levels of lockdown restrictions adversely impacted economic growth, employment, consumer confidence and spending, as well as retail foot traffic as the country experienced severe second and third waves of infection.

In the UK, trading conditions were exceptionally challenging amidst the Brexit transition and the closure of the Group’s stores from 5 November 2020 to 2 December 2020, and then again from 5 January 2021 to 12 April 2021, as all non-essential retail activity was suspended by the government in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus. Online trading activity, however, continued throughout these closures, and benefited from the UK-based Office segment’s strong e-commerce presence, as previously reported. Lockdown restrictions in the UK have been gradually relaxed in the last quarter of the current period as the government’s vaccine programme gained momentum, however retail footfall continued to be impacted by low levels of tourism and work-from-home arrangements.

The Group continued to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on its operations through all available measures. These included steps to exercise rigorous operating and capital expenditure control, access available government support schemes (predominantly in the UK), manage inventory levels and the order book, ensure greater focus on the online element of the business with particular emphasis on the UK segment and closely monitor all aspects of the trade receivables portfolio. In addition, strict COVID-19 protocols were implemented at the start of the pandemic and remain in force across all areas of operation to ensure the safety of employees and customers. Notwithstanding these measures, the pandemic has had a material impact on the Group’s performance in the current period, most notably on revenue generation, gross profit margins and the recoverable value of right-of- use (property lease) assets. On the other hand, the performance of the Truworths Africa segment’s trade receivables portfolio has been better than anticipated at June 2020 and the reduction in the expected credit loss allowance has exceeded the anticipated increase in bad debts. Government support schemes, specifically in relation to business rates and job retention in the UK, have further mitigated the impact on the Group’s cash flows and profits.

While the uncertainty around COVID-19 is expected to continue for many months ahead, especially in light of new variants of the virus and uncertainty around vaccine efficacy, the Group’s strong balance sheet and ability to manage margins and costs effectively, positions it to succeed in these challenging times.

Group
Retail sales of the Group for the current period increased by 0.5% to R17.0 billion relative to the R16.9 billion reported for the 52-week period ended 28 June 2020 (the ‘prior period’).

Account sales comprised 52% (2020: 51%) of Group retail sales for the current period, with account sales increasing by 2.8% and cash sales decreasing by 1.9%, relative to the prior period.

Truworths Africa
Retail sales for the Truworths Africa segment (being the Group, excluding the UK-based Office segment and comprising mainly of the Truworths businesses in South Africa) increased by 5.5% to R13.0 billion relative to the prior period’s R12.3 billion, with account and cash sales increasing by 2.8% and 11.8%, respectively. Account sales comprised 68% of retail sales (2020: 70%). Truworths Africa’s like-for-like store retail sales increased by 4.3% and trading space decreased by 1.1% relative to the prior period-end. Product inflation averaged 1.4% for the current period (2020: 1.2% product deflation).

Gross trade receivables (relating to the Truworths, Identity and YDE businesses) were at R5.4 billion (2020: R5.5 billion) and the number of active accounts was almost unchanged at 2.6 million relative to the prior period-end. Active account holders able to purchase and overdue balances as a percentage of gross trade receivables were at 82% (2020: 77%) and 15% (2020: 20%), respectively.

Office
Retail sales for the Group’s UK-based Office segment decreased in Sterling terms by 17.2% to GBP192.8 million relative to the prior period’s GBP232.8 million, as a consequence of the prolonged store closures. In Rand terms, retail sales for Office decreased by 12.9% to R4.0 billion. Office continues to benefit from its strong online presence, with online sales growing by 18.2% relative to the prior period and contributing approximately 63% (2020: 44%) of retail sales for the current period. Trading space for the Office segment decreased by 22.0% relative to the prior period as the Group continued its strategy of exiting marginal and loss-making stores.

Earnings
The Group is in the process of finalising various material entries, and the results for the current period are in the year-end external audit review. The Group will provide an update on earnings for the current period when it has reasonable certainty in this regard.

Civil unrest, looting and disruption in South Africa
Over the past week the country has witnessed civil unrest and violence which has temporarily disrupted some parts of the Group’s operations in South Africa. A number of the Group’s stores have been targeted, leaving Truworths with stock losses and damage to properties and equipment. Thankfully staff members that work in these stores are all safe and unharmed which will always be management’s highest priority.

In these incidents 57 of the Group’s South African store portfolio of 758 stores have been impacted directly and severely by looting and destruction of property. More than 55% of the 57 stores are located in central business districts and small shopping malls and approximately 45% are located in regional centres. These stores would normally account for approximately 7% of the retail sales in the Group’s South African store portfolio. No super- regional malls have been impacted. Furthermore, approximately 160 stores have been impacted indirectly as a consequence of precautionary closures. At present it is too early to determine the full extent of damages suffered and when the stores that have been closed pre-emptively will resume trading.

To date, the Group’s own distribution centres, which are located in the Western Cape, have not been affected. Additional security measures have been put in place to mitigate the risk of loss and to ensure the safety of personnel.

The Group’s third party logistics provider responsible for delivering merchandise to its South African stores and to e-commerce customers is also experiencing major disruption due to infrastructure damage and risks relating to road transportation in Kwazulu-Natal (‘KZN’). This means that the Group’s stores that are still trading are also being adversely impacted, as they are not receiving deliveries of merchandise allocated to them. However, recent information available indicates that this disruption will probably be resolved to a large extent by early next week.

The Group also has manufacturers in KZN that have been looted or have had garments, raw materials and equipment vandalised, in some cases rendering these manufacturers inoperable until further notice. Some factories that have not been vandalised or looted have been impacted by the unrest, as employees are either fearful or unable to return to work in affected areas. However management has been advised that most of these suppliers have either returned, or are expecting during this week and next to return to operational mode.

The bulk of the Truworths Africa segment’s locally produced merchandise is supplied by manufacturers based in the Western Cape, while imported merchandise generally arrives via the Cape Town harbour. These factors have significantly limited the direct impact of the incidents on merchandise sourcing and procurement.

The Group believes that it has adequate insurance cover to mitigate much of the losses of merchandise, the damage to its stores and loss of profits as a consequence of the inability to trade. The Chief Executive Officer, directors and senior executives are monitoring and managing the situation closely and have initiated steps to restore operations and resume trading as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the uncertainty around the extent of the damage makes it difficult to determine when operations will normalise, and what the impact of the incidents will be on sales and account collections due to store closures, and stock levels.

The Group expresses its extreme gratitude to all who have worked tirelessly in protecting the business and to all other stakeholders for their understanding and patience during such a challenging time.

Results release
Shareholders are advised that this business update does not constitute an earnings forecast, that the financial information provided herein is the responsibility of the directors, and that such information has neither been reviewed nor reported on by the Group’s external auditors. The Group’s audited results for the 52-week period ended 27 June 2021 are currently scheduled for release on or about Thursday, 2 September 2021.

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