DURBAN - Australia’s global retailer Cotton On group plans to expand its store footprint in South Africa going forward.
Cotton On group country manager Africa Natalie Wills said this week that South Africa was a big part of their business and it was all about building that brand credibility in the marketplace.
“The group continues to look for an opportunity to expand as it has been in the country for a number of years. We want to look at stores that have potential and want to upgrade them to ensure we give our customers a fantastic experience. We will upgrade certain stores, expanding certain others and looking at other areas to open up,” said Wills.
Wills said coming into South Africa roughly seven years ago had been a challenge as they were relatively unknown. Cotton On had had to build and work hard to establish connections, find the right stores to open in the right location.
The group now had a good footprint across South Africa,she said However, it took time for people to understand the brand. Wills said the retailer had 176 stores in the country despite it being a challenging time for retaillers. “
The company also operates in New Zealand, across Asia, Brazil and the US.
“We are also focused on our online business, which we rolled out almost two years ago. We want to make sure we continue to deliver across South Africa the Cotton On customer experience.”
COTTON ON FOUNDATION
The Group’s philanthropic arm, Cotton On Foundation this week launched its first project in KwaMashu’s Ethekwini Primary School.
The school was initially only able to cater to students from Grade R to four. The school received a revamp of the existing classrooms and 16 new classrooms that would allow learners to complete grades five to seven without having to leave their community.
Further upgrades to the school included 37 new ablution facilities, two kitchens, a staffroom, tuckshop, two fully equipped playgrounds as well as a new admin block for staff.
Cotton On Foundation manager Tara Stretch said that the retailer wanted to give community access to part of their project to KwaMashu. “Our customers and retail team are at the heart of our success as you need partnership with them and our customers purchasing Cotton On Foundation items in-store that we are able to raise funds to support our project.”
The foundation said the Ethekwini Primary School was their first project in South Africa.
“We are about to raise R1billion to support our project which has been highly successful in fundraising and making an impact on the ground. Hundred percent of what we raise from the items is invested back into the project.”
Wills attributed the success of this project to the connection of their teams and communicating what they have achieved in stores being able to articulate it to their customers without having to advertise it. She added that the Foundations 22 000 members globally did the fundraising.
Beyond the infrastructure investments, the programme saw investments in infrastructure, professional development for staff , sophisticated nutrition, hygiene programmes and well-being development of learners.
The Cotton On Foundation is also committed to investment at the Dr JL Dube High School, which was just a short distance from Ethekwini Primary school to offer learners an opportunity and pathways looking to vocational or tertiary opportunities closing the loop for the child’s journey for our foundation.