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Johannesburg - The Foschini Group (TFG) on Wednesday officially opened its newly-expanded and revamped R75 million Prestige Clothing factory in Caledon in the Western Cape, a move that represents a vote of confidence in the local manufacturing industry.

The combined size of the new factory is now 4000m² up from 900m², with one third of energy needs being provided by solar energy. TFG is home to a comprehensive portfolio of 27 retail brands that trade in clothing, footwear, jewellery, sportswear, home ware, cellphones and technology products, throughout 3328 outlets in 34 countries. The company's local supply chain division comprises of TFG Design and TFG Manufacturing.

Prestige Clothing Maitland and Prestige Clothing Caledon are two wholly-owned apparel manufacturers which form part of this structure. Graham Choice, head of design of TFG Manufacturing and Prestige Clothing, said the company was totally committed to continually expanding and growing its position as the top producer of in-demand apparel in South Africa.

Choice said this recent R75 million investment saw the construction of a brand new building as well as the refurbishment of the existing factory, including the re-tooling of the entire new facility. "This latest investment is not only good for business, as it enables TFG to boost our speed-to-market response and capacity, but also for continued job creation specifically in a rural area and the economy as a whole," Choice said.

"TFG already produces six million garments annually, and our investment strategy has enabled us to ensure future scalability and growth. Our layouts, technology, processes and systems are independently recognised as matching and often beating global best practice."

The establishment of a training school has also allowed more than 300 previously unemployed women to acquire the skills and a national qualification from the department of higher education in apparel manufacturing.

Choice said the company's focus was on continuing to develop its local manufacturing capability, and upgrading skills and machinery, to continue giving it competitive advantage locally and globally.