Tru­worths to close 6 Num­ber 1 chain stores

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Harare Bu­reau

CLOTH­ING re­tailer, Tru­worths Lim­ited, says it will close down six Num­ber 1 chain stores by De­cem­ber, as vol­umes and mar­ket share keep shrink­ing.

The Zim­babwe Stock Ex­change-listed re­tailer had al­ready closed two Num­ber 1 Stores at the end of the 2015 fi­nan­cial year, as the cash busi­ness kept wan­ing.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Themba Nde­bele told an­a­lysts last week that the group would cer­tainly close six more Num­ber 1 Stores by year end in line with the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing macro-eco­nomic and busi­ness con­di­tions.

“At this point Tru­worths and Top­ics will not be af­fected, but clo­sures will be in the Num­ber 1 chain. It is an un­prof­itable sec­tor of the mar­ket.

“Cer­tain lo­ca­tions will re­main open, but in some lo­ca­tions we have to close, es­pe­cially down town,” he said.

Tru­worths op­er­ates 24 Num­ber 1 Stores, 27 Top­ics out­lets and 16 Tru­worths branded chain stores.

Tru­worths slumped to a $1,3 mil­lion loss, its first since dol­lar­i­sa­tion, for the full year pe­riod to July this year, as ag­gre­gate de­mand de­clined.

The re­tailer also noted that cus­tomers shifted to pur­chas­ing sin­gle units as op­posed to packs, which de­pressed the av­er­age spend­ing per cus­tomer.

The group CEO pointed out that the most dif­fi­cult mar­ket for the re­tailer is Harare due to high rental costs and this is the mar­ket space where down turn in turnover has been most sig­nif­i­cant for the group.

He said there are cer­tain fac­tors, es­pe­cially devel­op­ments in the econ­omy, which the group can­not con­trol, but that it would fo­cus on ar­eas where it has con­trol, which is con­tain­ment of costs.

This has seen the group ra­tio­nalise its staff, which has come down from 635 in 2015 to 511 this year while work­ing days for head of­fice staff were cut to four re­sult­ing in a 20 per­cent cut on the wage bill.

Trad­ing ex­penses, the group said, de­creased by 4,2 per­cent com­pared to the prior pe­riod.

Ex­clud­ing trade re­ceiv­ables 2,8 per­cent.

Tru­worths said man­age­ment will con­tinue to work on cost re­duc­tion while man­age­ment of trade re­ceiv­ables will also re­main key. costs, ex­penses fell

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