End of the line for ‘Har­rods of SA’

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES -

DEPART­MENT store Stuttafords, the 159-year-old “Har­rods of South Africa”, is clos­ing down, vic­tim of a global shift to on­line re­tail and a do­mes­tic eco­nomic slump. The doyenne of the South African high street dur­ing apartheid and the two decades since ap­plied for pro­tec­tion from cred­i­tors in Oc­to­ber. How­ever, at­tempts to re­vive its for­tunes proved fu­tile and cred­i­tors voted in June to wind up the un­listed firm by Au­gust 1, with clos­ing-down sales at its nine stores in South Africa, two in Botswana and one in Namibia. Through var­i­ous changes of own­er­ship, it never lost its fo­cus on the mid­dle and up­per-class South African mar­ket, de­spite the econ­omy’s fail­ure to re­cover fully from a deep re­ces­sion in 2009 sparked by the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis. Chief ex­ec­u­tive Robert Amoils could not be reached for com­ment but has de­fended his ap­proach.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Stuttafords depart­ment store with empty shelves in Sand­ton yes­ter­day.

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