Newsletter 38 of 2019

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           Newsletter No. 38                                                    4 October 2019

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Edgars launches first new concept store

The new Edgars brand concept is unlike anything we’ve seen before in South Africa, seamlessly translating the brand’s new positioning and business direction into a physical open-floor space that immediately evokes a sense of play.

Ever since Edgars re-launched the brand last year, the retail giant has been collaborating with South African culture and actively encouraging authentic self-expression. This first concept store is an impressively inspiring space for all South Africans who want to express themselves through fashion, no matter how conservative or edgy they choose to be.

Internationally, retailers are purposefully rewiring themselves in the ever evolving retail landscape toenable the ‘experience economy’. Retail isn’t dead, only boring retail is dead. In order to thrive in a time where customers can do anything anywhere and get personalised real-time experiences both online and in real life, big retailers need to make the shift.

And Edgars is no exception. Working closely with design-and-build focused agency Design Partnership, Edgars has created an environment that goes beyond the transaction, setting an enticing stage for meaningful and memorable experiences.

Blurring the line between shop and mall walkway, the Edgars Fourways Mall shop front opens up completely, effortlessly inviting people to move into the store and participate in the Edgars experience– nothing less than an 8,000 sqm space of fashion, beauty, and homeware.

Edgars Fourways Mall is a subtle nod to the heritage of retail stores as the heart of the high street. Just like a town square, a multi-sensory, tree-lined central social space anchors all Edgars’ in-store departments on both floors, activating the in-between-space with key services and exclusive food partnerships.

The bespoke Mugg & Bean coffee shop in the central square heightens the concept of creating entertainment through shopping and socialising. This beautifully designed space invites customers to take a little time out without having to leave the store.

For those customers pressed for time to browse in store, Edgars has just launched a new click and collect service. Shoppers can now shop online (or on their mobile devices), choose a store for delivery, and collect their order at no additional cost – This online service is now available at the new Edgars, Fourways Mall.

Other special in store features and services that customers can look forward to interacting with include the denim bar, home zone, footwear world, custom zone, personal shoppers, and beauty rooms.

An elevation of the beauty counters that Edgars has always been known for, the beauty rooms’ house beauty experts trained to give customers head-to-toe makeovers and to share their knowledge on thebrand’s latest exclusive beauty products.

Activation spaces for cosmetic events, home demonstrations, and new launches bring in an experiential element to the store. There are play areas for kids and digital multi zone screens with in- store music.

All this without any traditional clutter or stuffy aisles. Capitalising on the iconic Edgars ‘Red Square’, the floor is a liberated space. A focal bulkhead and feature overhead lighting naturally lead the customer throughout the store towards the central square and other key customer services.

Adding another unique finish to the total shop experience, non-transactional spaces that focus on customer service have been designed with a hospitality-led approach. For example, instead of a typical counter service, the customer/financial service zones are far more welcoming and friendly with their service booths, soft seating, and informal pause areas.

‘Ultimately it’s a social retail space designed for pure experience,’ says Edgars Chief Executive Mike Elliott. ‘That was the starting point for the design that is the new Edgars Fourways Mall. In line with future retail trends, we’re prioritising interaction over transaction, and we’re doing it all especially forthe South African consumer. As a brand we are unapologetically South African about our love for everything local, and this store is our latest expression of that culture.’

The design language and iconography for the entire store not only makes navigation simpler for the customer, but also embraces an authentic local tone in a way that represents all South African walks of life. Every element in Edgars Fourways Mall is designed to create a contemporary yet warm and friendly South African environment. A home. A place to relax, a place to take it easy, a space to be free.

Because retail is always adapting to market and customer needs, Edgars Fourways Mall is designed exactly for that: for change. This enables the brand to advocate South African culture of its time through product and to continually embrace in-store experimentation newness, building an ever- growing Edgars experience.

The entire store environment is agile enough to allow departments to shift and adapt. Each department is set up with tracks that not only house the technical display lighting but also allows for feature lighting and other power requirements to be plugged in and suspended wherever needed as the departments move.

The brand is currently working on a further evolution of the new Edgars store design for Edgars V&A in Cape Town, which is anticipated to open in 2020.  African Retail

Indian cotton company to build factory in Zambia

Zambian Vice President Inonge Wina recently held talks with India’s Shree Vagmi Cotton Ltd, which will invest $7 million in the next three years to build a factory to process cotton lint. The company has acquired a 26-acre land in Mwembeshi area of Chibombo district in the Central Province and would engage 23,000 cotton farmers in the country in two years.

Wina was accompanied by Zambia’s high commissioner to India Judith Kapijimpanga. Vagmi has a cotton factory in Indore.

Shree Vagmi chief executive officer Amit Dwivedi said his company would evolve from cotton ginning to a full textile company in 2020 and would resuscitate the once vibrant textile industry in Zambia, according to Zambian media reports.

The company will be running a scheme under which it will supply farmers with seed, chemicals, wool packs and collect cotton from farming areas, he said.

The company will also build houses for some Zambian staff running the factory

Shree Modern Textiles to develop free trade zone in Uganda

The Uganda Free Zones Authority (UFZA) recently issued two developer’s licenses to BlockChain Technologies (U) Limited and Shree Modern Textiles Ltd to develop free trade zones, or free ports, in Kampala and Jinja districts respectively. Free ports are designated areas in which companies are lightly taxed or attract no tax at all to encourage trade.

Shree Modern Textiles will invest in ginning, weaving and making textiles, while the other company plans to undertake the business of digital innovation and software production.

The major products expected from the textile facility include crew-neck T-shirts, polo T-shirts, terry towels, trousers and full sleeve shirts. The free port covering 81 acres is estimated to employ 1,500 people directly and create around 4,500 indirect jobs, according to Ugandan media reports.

Shree Modern Textiles is a flagship company of the Uganda-based Nile Agro Group of companies involved in the manufacturing of products like laundry soap, wheat flour, plastic jerry cans and water tanks.  F2F

Africa’s bars to help bounce to digital economy: Alibaba

Africa has the right ingredients to see its digital economy grow just as China’s did when it began its expansion 20 years ago, Alibaba Group vice president Brian Wong recently told the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town. Perceived limitations in fact will allow Africa to leapfrog into a vibrant digital economy and better engage in trade, he said.

The limitations include a lack of retail infrastructure, low internet penetration and per capita income, Wong, who heads Alibaba’s global initiatives, said during a panel discussion on ‘The Retail Revolution’ in Africa.

When Alibaba launched as a company in 1999, China had a large population, rudimentary retail infrastructure, only 8.8 million Internet users and a per-capita income of $800. Now, those numbers have soared to 850 million internet users, a per-capital income of $9,000 and total e-commerce turnover of $1 trillion.

“Most people would believe this is impossible unless you have a very developed infrastructure. The reality is that not having a developed, say, retail infrastructure, banking infrastructure, logistics infrastructure, provided an opportunity in China for people to leapfrog the traditional sector and go straight into digital. And that’s why the growth has been so immense,” a company press release quoted Wong as saying.

Fifteen years ago, China accounted for less than 5 per cent of the world’s e-commerce sales, Wong said, but today’s it is 43 per cent. That same year, 2004, less than 1 per cent of all retail in China was e-commerce, he said, but the number has grown to 33 per cent now, he said.

Educational institutions should train youth in the skills that are necessary to succeed in the new economy, he added.

Alibaba Group executive chairman Jack Ma is currently hosting the $10 million Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) with four regional partners. The prize includes an annual pitch competition over the next decade, with 10 finalists receiving a portion of $1 million to fund their businesses as well as access to the Netpreneur community of African business leaders for mentorship and other resources.

The goal is to identify 100 African ‘business heroes’ who are building a more-sustainable and inclusive future to help lead Africa to the next stage of development.

Just prior to Alibaba’s participation in the WEF Africa event, the company was announced as a founding member of WEF’s new Africa Growth Platform, which will work to bring together governments, investors and entrepreneurs to increase access to funding and create better business environments for the continent’s start-ups. F2F

Did you know……..

1934 Fashion: What did people wear?

Finally, high-fashion designs were making their way to the average woman in the form of ready-to-wear clothes. The style that was seen in the magazines was being seen in middle class neighbourhoods. The tailored look, Chanel’s collection and the new surrealism design all experienced great success.

Chanel embraced “understated elegance” by keeping the easy skirt and pairing it with a jersey jacket. Schiaparelli pursued “hard edge chic” and fantasy, with prints designed by Dali and Cocteau, accompanied by wild button shaped like fish, horses or stars.

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