End of the line for ‘Harrods of SA’
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.
Stuttafords department store with empty shelves in Sandton yesterday.