34 of 2021

                    Newsletter No 34 / 10 September 2021                           

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eThekwini to invest in textile garment units

South Africa’s eThekwini Municipality, which includes Durban and surrounding towns, is planning to invest more than 12 million rand over the next three years in the clothing and textile industry to boost the sector. The municipality will sign a memorandum of understanding with the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Clothing and Textile Cluster, a non-profit organisation.

In a report on the issue, the city said it is mandated to support industry clusters to encourage participatory economic activities, thereby enabling local industry to stabilise and grow the gross domestic product of the eThekwini region.

It said the clothing and textile industry is the largest employer in eThekwini and the sector remains critical to the growth of the city’s economy, according to an independent news and information website in the country.

“The KZN Clothing and Textile Cluster is a necessary vehicle to strengthen the industry and collectively drive greater efficiencies and economies of scale that will make the sector more competitive; and to create more jobs and protect the local rates base,” the government report said.

The city will disburse funds to the KZN Clothing and Textile Cluster amounting to R4.2 million for fiscal 2020-21, R4.5m for fiscal 2022-23 and R4.8m for 2023-24.

South Africa approves UIF’s relief scheme for workers hit by arson.

South Africa’s Unemployment Insurance Fund’s (UIF) Destroyed, Affected or Looted Workplaces: Temporary Financial Relief Scheme was recently been approved by the government. The scheme has been set up to assist workers whose workplaces were closed due to recent unrest in KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng, resulting in either reduced pay or no pay at all.

The approval was announced in a gazette notification on August 10.

According to estimates by the department of employment and labour, more than 75,000 workers have been affected by the unrest in both provinces.

The scheme seeks to assist workers in affected businesses. However, every employer, who is not yet registered with UIF will have to register first with the UIF to access the benefit, the department said in a press release.

Qualifying employers will be required to apply on behalf of their employees through a process that the UIF will specify. The process will enable employers to make bulk applications and they will be required to meet the following conditions:

Payment of the temporary financial relief will only be done directly into the worker’s bank account unless the UIF Commissioner specifies the conditions under which payments can be made into the employer’s account.

The relief will be paid based on the income replacement rate calculated on the sliding scale of 38-60 per cent based on the employee’s remuneration.

The temporary financial relief is de-linked from the UIF’s normal benefits.

The decision was welcomed by the Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU), which has tracked 51 factories and associate businesses in its industry pipeline, employing thousands of workers from the poorest communities.

But the union’s most serious concern remains the threat of permanent job losses and industrial capacity destruction, which might now result in the context of a country that is already burdened by a triple crisis of extremely high levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment, it said in a statement.

It cautioned employers not to opportunistically abuse this crisis by attempting to introduce employment contract downward variation provisions, as and when workers return to work.   F2F

Sweet-Orr: 150 Years Of SA’s superior Workwear That Won’t Let You Down

Sweet-Orr Management L to R: Mark Pardoe, Vanessa Govender, Virginia Jacobs, John Jacobs, Abigail Louw, Zelma Jacobs, Denver Berman-Jacob

In the toughest and most demanding environments – mining, manufacturing, oil refineries and more – workers reach for their Sweet Orr overalls and protective workwear. That’s because Sweet-Orr has proven its name and quality for 150 years, while making sure they meet their customers’ needs every step of the way.

In some jobs, making even a single mistake can have disastrous consequences. In the personal protective equipment industry, where workers operate in hazardous conditions daily, it is essential that every step meets the highest quality standards. Sweet-Orr & Lybro, American-founded, now 100% South African, is living up to its bold brand promise of “We never let you down”.

“In a field like ours, you have to be dedicated to quality. Our customers trust us to put their safety first, and we have to live up to that trust, every single day,” said Sweet-Orr CEO, John Jacobs.

The company grew from humble beginnings in Wappingers Falls, New York state, in 1871 when James Orr and his nephews, Clayton and Clinton Sweet identified the need for workwear which labourers could buy off the shelf rather than tailoring their own. With just six machinists sewing garments, the Sweet-Orr company pioneered a new industry segment and quickly cornered the market. Sweet-Orr was possibly the first commercial manufacturer of blue jeans, according to the New York Times, and supplied official uniforms to the US armed forces and Boy Scouts Association for over 100 years.

Putting down roots in South Africa

In 1931, it was time to make the next bold move – establishing offices in booming South Africa and diversifying the business in the wake of the Great Depression. In partnership with UK brand Lybro, Sweet-Orr & Lybro was born with offices in Woodstock, Cape Town. In 1969, Sweet-Orr opened its current 5500 square metre premises in Elsies River, with production capacity of 3 500 garments per day. Today, all Sweet-Orr & Lybro garments are manufactured here by the company’s skilled machinists, and the company is wholly and proudly South African owned.

Since its founding, Sweet-Orr & Lybro has demonstrated a thirst for excellence. It was the first manufacturer in South Africa to triple-stitch lapsed seams and incorporate hemmed pockets and bar-tacked stress points – innovations that further strengthen garments and prevent rips or tears which could catch on machinery and cause serious harm. And in 1978, Sweet-Orr became the first local clothing manufacturer to be awarded the coveted South African Bureau of Standards’ mark-bearing certification SANS 434 (SABS).

In a possibly surprising development, New York teens in the 1980s rediscovered Sweet-Orr’s durable workwear – but this time as a fashion item. Sweet-Orr’s coloured jeans, worker-striped chinos and painter’s pants were straight from the factory floor and were redolent of sweat, hard work, and honest, uncomplicated and unpretentious living.

Family run, with family values at its core

Alongside a single-minded focus on quality, Sweet-Orr & Lybro is also a company that takes family values to heart. Founded by a family of Irish immigrants 150 years ago, it is now once again owned and run by family – in this case, CEO John Jacobs, his wife and children.

Employees, suppliers and clients are all treated as part of the same family, sharing the same goals, and a commitment to skills development, staff education and training. Sweet-Orr has an in-house training academy whose graduates are employed within the company. It is also registered with the Fibre Processing & Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority (FP&M SETA) and offers learnership programmes under the auspices of the SETA.

“It’s so important that South African companies make sure that opportunities are available to employees from all walks of life. Especially in areas like Elsies River, where many families still live in poverty. We see ourselves as part of the Elsies community and are proud to provide good jobs here,” said Jacobs.

The fruits of this approach are shown by the loyalty of its staff. The average length of service at Sweet-Orr is 25 years, with one recent staff member celebrating 40 years of service prior to retirement.

Changing with the times, while maintaining quality

As economies change and the world becomes more global, Sweet-Orr too has diversified its product range. There is a natural synergy between Sweet-Orr’s products and the needs of the mining industry. Sweet-Orr’s customers now also represent petrochemicals, engineering, automotive, hospitality, healthcare and the military. This diversity means that Sweet-Orr pays particular attention to requirements and regulations affecting its customers to produce intricate garments of the highest quality.

Alongside the broader customer base, there is also a wider product range offering protection from head to toe. Sweet-Orr offers personal protective equipment as well as essential workwear, utility workwear, denim and specialised workwear including flame retardant, acid-repellent, arc flash and flame-acid workwear for high-risk environments.

While continuously expanding its client base and product range, the company has moved from being a traditional single-channel sales business towards a multi-channel sales business with a robust e-commerce presence – including Takealot, website sales, and a showroom in Boksburg.

Sweet-Orr currently distributes garments across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region as well as in the United Arab Emirates.

The comp-any is also looking into agreements with other countries in Africa and has re-entered the United States.

“As one of South Africa’s oldest manufacturers of protective workwear, being able to once again serve the very country where we once originated is incredibly exciting. Making the circle full is a tremendous feat,” says executive director Denver Berman-Jacob.

Wrangler – The Icons Collection

Every Icon has its origin story

The Jeans – 11 MWZ Men’s Western Zipper

Created for rodeo riders and ranch hands, Wrangler was adopted by rebels and rock stars and throughout its history, the authentic all-American denim icon has created an era-defining style.

Introducing the Men’s Western Zipper, the first-ever produced jeans from Wrangler. Known for its authentic western style with a counter-culture attitude. This is the archetypal jean. Wearable and flattering, it’s a retro-style that now feels completely modern.

The redesign of this slim straight classic brings back soft broken twill denim that gives you that worn-in feel from the very first moment you slip them on. The slightly higher waist, tobacco stitching, and classic blue Wrangler denim are just as they once were.

The Jacket – 124 Men’s Western Jacket

Created for rodeo riders and ranch hands, adopted by rebels and rock stars, the authentic 124 jacket is the definitive denim jacket. Inspired by youth and forever timeless in style, it’s the finer details that make these jackets iconic.

The remake is slightly slimmer for a modern take on the classic design.

The Shirt – 27 MW Men’s Western Shirt

This best-seller became an instant classic as soon as it was released in the mid-sixties.

The original inspiration lies in the western shirts from the 1940s, now perfectly reissued for the modern urban cowboy.

Sector apparel launched their online shopping platform Thedrop.co.za. Offering the latest fashion drops from global brands available in South Africa to reflect your culture and lifestyle.

Pick n Pay fashion on Zando

According to Business Report, Pick n Pay Clothing is now being sold on Zando following a partnership with the online store. The company anticipates that this will help expand their customer base, extending customer outreach and availing greater opportunities for buyers to acquire their range. This move further compliments Pick n Pay Clothing’s online presence and consolidates its brand’s position in the clothing market.

Pick n Pay – retirement of director

Shareholders are advised that Ms Suzanne Ackerman-Berman will be taking early retirement from her position as Transformation Director of the Pick n Pay Group with effect from 31 March 2022.
Suzanne will continue to serve the Pick n Pay Group on the Board of directors in a non- executive capacity. She will remain as Chair of the Board’s Social and Ethics Committee and will retain her roles as Chair of the Ackerman/Pick n Pay Foundation, and as Chair of the Feed the Nation Foundation.

The Group has put in place effective succession arrangements at executive level, including a suitable handover with Suzanne. These successor arrangements will not involve any new appointment to the Board of directors.

TFG – results of annual general meeting

At the annual general meeting of The Foschini Group Ltd. held on Thursday, 2 September 2021, all the ordinary and special resolutions were passed by the requisite majority of votes, cast by way of poll in each case.

The Company’s total number of ordinary shares in issue eligible to vote is 328 766 358 and the total number of shares represented in person or by proxy at the meeting was 273 068 142 representing 83.06% of the eligible shares.

The special resolution/s will, where necessary, be lodged for registration with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission in due course.

Shareholders are invited to advise the Group of their reasons for their dissenting votes on the remuneration policy and the implementation of the remuneration policy by sending correspondence by email to the Group Company Secretary, Darwin van Rooyen (company_secretary@tfg.co.za), by 1 October 2021

Truworths-NSX final results June 2021

Revenue for the year went down 2.5% to R17.5 billion (R18.0 billion) whilst trading profit turned around 278.1% to R2.3 billion (loss of R1.3 billion). Operating profit shot up 2 861.8% to R3.0 billion (loss of R110 million). In addition, headline earnings per share grew 26.8% to 520.3 cents per share (410.4 cents per share).

Final dividend
The directors of the company have resolved to declare a gross cash dividend from retained earnings in respect of the 52-week period ended 27 June 2021 in the amount of 118 South African cents (2020: 31 South African cents) per ordinary share to shareholders reflected in the company’s register on the record date, being Thursday, 23 September 2021.

Company outlook

South Africa: Truworths
The uncertainty around COVID-19 is expected to continue for many months ahead and this will be compounded by vaccine hesitancy and roll-out rates in South Africa, potential new variants of the virus emerging and the risk of further waves of infection. Following a slow start, South Africa’s vaccination programme is gaining momentum, with approximately 10% of the population fully vaccinated and 16% partially vaccinated to date.

The Group’s robust balance sheet and strong cash generation will provide resilience in the current environment of depressed consumer spending and weaker demand for fashion apparel.

Growth in the new financial period will be supported by continued recovery and growth in the debtors book, remodelling of emporium and large stores, new and expanded store retail concepts and brands, expansion of the e-commerce offering and investment in technology to offer customers a true omni-channel retail experience.

Truworths’ retail sales for the first nine weeks of the 2022 reporting period decreased by 5.3% compared to the first nine weeks of the prior corresponding period. Retail sales during this period were lower due to reduced markdown activity compared to the prior comparative period, slower consumer spending when stricter lockdown regulations were applied in response to the third wave of COVID-19 infections, and the civil unrest and rioting in KwaZuluNatal and Gauteng in July referred to above. Excluding sales of the stores directly affected by the civil unrest and riots for weeks three to nine from the first nine weeks of the 2022 reporting period as well as the prior corresponding period, retail sales decreased by 0.8%.

Trading space is planned to remain unchanged for the 2022 reporting period.

United Kingdom: Office
The Office turnaround plan aimed at restoring the profitability of the chain continues to gain traction despite being adversely impacted by COVID-19 limitations. The focus areas in the year ahead will continue to be on stock management, the closure of loss-making and marginal stores, remodelling of important high-profile stores, expanded e-commerce offering, investment in IT systems and in payment options for customers, and ongoing expense control.

High street footfall remains under pressure due to COVID-19, particularly in major city centres which are dependent on office workers and tourists. However, the rapid roll-out of the UK’s COVID-19 vaccine programme, with an estimated 64% of the population already having been vaccinated, is expected to reduce the risk of further lockdown restrictions and support the recovery of the retail sector.

Office’s retail sales for the first nine weeks of the 2022 reporting period increased by 3.2% in Sterling terms compared to the first nine weeks of the prior corresponding period.

Trading space is planned to decrease by approximately 12% for the 2022 reporting period.

Group: capital expenditure
Capital expenditure of R389 million (Truworths R332 million and Office GBP3 million) has been committed for the 2022 reporting period.

                                                                                                            Did you know……..

Fabric Textiles

The earliest evidence of fabric textiles has been found in Turkey, Egypt and Israel.

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