43 of 2020


                                                              Newsletter No. 43 / 13 November 2020                            





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Capacitivo: contact-based object recognition on Interactive fabrics using Capacitive Sensing

We present Capacitivo, a contact-based object recognition technique developed for interactive fabrics, using capacitive sensing. Unlike prior work that has focused on metallic objects, our technique recognizes non-metallic objects such as food, different types of fruits, liquids, and other types of objects that are often found around a home or in a workplace. To demonstrate our technique, we created a prototype composed of a 12 x 12 grid of electrodes, made from conductive fabric attached to a textile substrate. We designed the size and separation between the electrodes to maximize the sensing area and sensitivity. We then used a 10-person study to evaluate the performance of our sensing technique using 20 different objects, which yielded a 94.5% accuracy rate. We conclude this work by presenting several different application scenarios to demonstrate unique interactions that are enabled by our technique on fabrics. Promostyl









CBN invests N120 bn to revive Nigeria’s textile sector

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently said it had invested over N120 billion across the cotton, textile and garment (CTG) value chain since its intervention programme in the industry began. Over 320,000 farmers had been financed between 2018 to date and the expected output for seed cotton is projected to be over 300,000 metric tonnes in 2020.

CBN’s deputy governor in charge of corporate services Edward Adamu said at a recently meeting with stakeholders in the sector in Abuja that this is expected to enhance the production capacity of the ginneries in producing over 102,000 metric tonnes of cotton lint, which should meet and surpass the cotton lint requirement of the textile industry in the country.

The domestic demand for cotton is now met through local production, thereby halting the import of cotton as well as increasing capacity utilisation of ginneries, which now operate throughout the year compared to months in the recent past, he was quoted a s saying by Nigerian media reports.

He said a total of 19 ginneries had been resuscitated nationwide and more are expected to become operational this year. He said the apex bank’s enhanced drive toward anti-smuggling is yielding positive results, with the bank accounts of over 15 textile smugglers frozen.

President of National Cotton Association of Nigeria Anibe Achimugu stressed the need for farmers to access funding from the Export Development Fund (EDF) to help them remain competitive. F2F







Zimbabwe to release additional $1.5 bn for cotton farmers


Zimbabwe will release an additional $1.5 billion to settle outstanding payments to cotton farmers for the crop delivered this marketing season, according to lands, agriculture, water and rural resettlement minister Anxious Masuka, who recently said this is in addition to the $1.8 billion released to pay farmers financed under the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme.

The government, the major financier of cotton through the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco), plans to provide inputs worth $82 million this season to support 4 lakh households.

The government initiative is in the context of the recently launched Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy that seeks to grow the agriculture sector to $8.2 billion from $5.2 billion in the next four years.

The suspension of bulk mobile money payments by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to curb illegal foreign currency trading, resulted in cotton merchants, including The Cotton Company of Zimbabwe, which administers the Presidential Free Inputs Scheme, switching to alternative payment systems including buying household goods, farm implements and productive assets for the farmers who delivered their crop to Cottco.

The central bank believes large money transfers, particularly by EcoCash agents, were being used to fuel black market deals in foreign exchange. In the previous seasons, the majority of the cotton farmers were paid via mobile platforms especially EcoCash.

The alternative payment schemes were hailed by farmers although some stakeholders expressed skepticism about the arrangement. It has also been difficult for merchants to deposit money into farmers’ bank accounts as the majority of the growers were reluctant to open accounts.

Masuka cautioned farmers against abusing inputs while urging Cottco to account for the inputs, according to media reports from the country. After peaking at 352 000 tonnes in 2011, cotton output declined to 28 000 tonnes three years later, the lowest yield in nearly two decades partly due to lack of adequate funding and poor prices.

With the coming in of the Presidential Inputs Scheme, coupled with renewed interests by private players to finance the crop, who last year financed about 30 per cent of production, the sector has recorded a significant recovery.

Some farmers are also increasing acreage as the crop is generally less waster intensive. However, recurring drought due to climate changes continue affecting yields of cotton and other crops such as maize and tobacco. F2F






Truworths – business update

Truworths announced that retail sales for the first 18 trading weeks (29 June 2020 to 1 November 2020) of the 2021 financial period (‘the current period’) decreased by 10% to R5.7 billion compared to the first 18 trading weeks (1 July 2019 to 3 November 2019) of the 2020 financial period (‘the prior period’). Both of the Group’s main markets, South Africa and the UK, continue to be affected materially by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. While lockdown restrictions in South Africa have been relaxed gradually over the last five months, the UK is entering a second national lockdown from today until Wednesday, 2 December 2020 as the second wave of the pandemic is starting to be experienced in the northern hemisphere. In terms of the restrictions the Group’s stores across the UK are classified as non-essential retail and accordingly will only be open for ‘click & collect’ transactions during this lockdown.

In the current period, account sales comprised 50% (2020: 52%) of Group retail sales, with account sales decreasing by 13% and cash sales decreasing by 7% relative to the prior period.

Retail sales for Truworths Africa (being the Group, excluding the UK-based Office segment and comprising mainly of the Truworths businesses in South Africa) decreased by 9% to R4.2 billion relative to the prior period’s R4.6 billion. Account sales comprised 69% of these retail sales (2020: 71%). Truworths’ trading space decreased by 0.5% on the prior period and is expected to remain largely unchanged for the full 2021 financial period. Product inflation averaged 0.2% for the current period (2020: 0.4%).

Retail sales for the Group’s UK-based Office segment decreased in Sterling terms by 26% to £70 million relative to the prior period’s £95 million. In Rand terms retail sales for Office decreased by 12% to R1.5 billion. Office continues to benefit from its strong e-commerce offering with e-commerce sales growing by 22% in the current period to comprise 52% of total retail sales. Office’s trading space decreased by 11.5% compared to the prior period and is expected to decrease by approximately 20% for the full 2021 financial period as the business continues to exit unprofitable stores as leases expire or lease breaks become available.

Truworths Africa’s gross trade receivables at 25 October 2020 decreased by 15% to R5.0 billion compared to R5.9 billion at 27 October 2019. The number of active accounts decreased by 6%. The percentage of active account holders able to purchase and overdue balances as a percentage of gross trade receivables were at 83% (2020: 85%) and 15% (2020: 13%), respectively. While gross bad debt in respect of the book is increasing, the overall quality of the book is showing signs of improvement and the allowance for expected credit losses is starting to reduce.

Although the trading environment is expected to remain challenging in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit uncertainty and a weak economic backdrop generally, the Group continues to utilise its extensive experience to manage the risk of fashion through its proven merchandise design and buying processes, and to manage the risk of the book through continuing to apply strategies to ensure the on-going health of the portfolio.

Acquisition of Barrie Cline
The Group announced the successful acquisition of the Barrie Cline Clothing business (’Barrie Cline’) with effect from 1 December 2020. The acquisition falls below the threshold of a categorised transaction in terms of the JSE Listings Requirements.

Barrie Cline is a ladieswear apparel design centre that has been a supplier to Truworths for more than 30 years. It is well aligned with the varied needs of the Truworths ladieswear business and provides apparel design, sample and pattern-making services, as well as apparel manufacturing through a network of approximately 50 local cut, make, and trim (’CMT’)

The acquisition of Barrie Cline complements Truworths’ existing in-house design capability, which focuses on mens and kidswear, while the vertical integration with Truworths will strengthen Truworths’ relationship with local CMTs who are critical in supporting local manufacturing and the clothing industry in South Africa.

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 interim results for the 26-week period ending 27 December 2020 are scheduled for release on or about Thursday, 18 February 2021.




TFG interim results September 2020

Revenue for the interim period decreased to R13.862 billion (2019: R18.568 billion), gross profit lowered to R5.664 billion (2019: R9.027 billion), profit for the period attributable to equity holders of TFG weakened to R416.3 million (2019: R1.233 billion), while headline loss per ordinary share was recorded at 91 cents per share (2019: headline earnings of 531.2 cents per share).

Interim ordinary dividend announcement
In light of the current subdued economic environment and the heightened levels of uncertainty posed by COVID-19, the Supervisory Board has decided that it would be prudent not to declare an interim ordinary dividend at this period-end (Sept 2019: 335 cents per share). Dividends will be resumed when appropriate to do so.

Preference dividend announcement
Dividend number 168 of 3.25% (6.5 cents per share) (gross) in respect of the six months ending 31 March 2021 has been declared from income reserves, payable on Monday, 15 March 2021 to holders of 6.5% preference shares recorded in the books of the company at the close of business on Friday, 12 March 2021.

Company outlook
The outlook for trading conditions remain uncertain as consumer confidence remains under pressure and further lockdowns as a result of the second wave of COVID-19 infections have already been experienced in TFG Australia and are currently being experienced in TFG London.

As previously communicated, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our 2021 financial year is expected to be significant across all territories, the extent of which is difficult to predict with accuracy. Any re-introduction of significant lockdowns and store closures across our three business segments would have a further material and negative impact on our business and results of operations in our 2021 financial year.

We are however confident that the Group is well positioned to take advantage of any economic recovery and that our continued investment in our brands, digital transformation initiatives, e-commerce platforms and vertical quick response supply chain capacity, will continue to benefit the Group.

Results presentation webcast
A live webcast of the results presentation will be broadcast at 09:00 am (SAST) on 5 November 2020. A registration link for the webcast is available on the Company’s website: www.tfglimited.co.za. The interim results presentation will be made available on the Company’s website prior to the commencement of the webcast.




Mr Price – trading statement

The group is currently finalising its interim financial results for the 26 weeks ended 26 September 2020. These results will be announced on the Stock Exchange News Service on or about Thursday, 26 November 2020.

Following the trading statement published on 20 August 2020, shareholders are further advised that headline earnings per share is likely to be between 23% and 28% lower than that reported for the previous corresponding reporting period, as reflected in the table below.

Earnings impact
The closure of all the group’s South African stores during the nation-wide lockdown between 27 March 2020 and 30 April 2020, and the subsequent trade restrictions due to COVID-19, has had a material impact on the group’s earnings. During the month of April 2020, the group estimates that it lost approximately R1.8bn in sales. Despite stores being permitted to trade from May 2020, the group was further negatively impacted as its full assortment of merchandise was not permitted to be sold until 1 June 2020.

As a result, the group advises that it expects the interim financial results for the 26 weeks ended 26 September 2020 to fall within the following ranges:
Expected interim 26/09/2020 cents
Basic earnings per share: 275.0 to 297.2
Basic headline earnings per share : 319.1 to 341.3

Following a detailed review, impairments of R153.4m were recognised, relating to IT assets and right-of-use-assets (store leases). These impairment charges were included in basic earnings per share but are added back for the calculation of headline earnings per share. The current economic conditions have required an increase in the impairment of the group debtors’ book to 15.2%. Cash continues to be the favoured tender type, accounting for 86.0% of total sales. The group achieved its target of double-digit declines in inventory on hand in H1 FY21, which has been adequately provided for.

Interim results presentation
A live webcast of the interim results presentation is scheduled for 09:00 am on or about 26 November 2020. This can be accessed through the following link: https://www.corpcam.com/MrPrice26112020
The estimate financial information on which this trading statement is based has not been reviewed and reported on by the company’s external auditors.



             Did you know……..                       

                                                                                        Good-Luck Charm

The modern-day stereotype of Roman fashion—sandals and a toga—might not seem too stylish, but the Romans actually did love to be adorned. Their favourite style of jewellery? Phallic shapes were considered good luck, and were fashioned out of metal and worn as charms on necklaces.



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