Foschini, one of TFG retails stores PHOTO SAM CLARK, Buisness Report.

JOHANNESBURG – Fashion retailer TFG is adamant that it will not be bullied into paying higher rental fees for its stores as the group looks to redirect more of its capital expenditure into digital channels in the future.

Outgoing chief executive Doug Murray, who had his swansong with the media yesterday, said the company was well placed to grow in South Africa, the UK and Australia.

“We are looking at a reduced number of stores going forward,” Murray said. “We’re very tough with negotiations on rental and if we feel the price is not right we’re not afraid to walk away.”

Today is Murray’s last day at the helm of the company he has steered for the past 11 years and on Monday he will be replaced by the group’s chief financial officer, Anthony Thunström.

Under Murray’s leadership the group’s brands doubled while its revenue increased from under R10 billion to R28.6bn this year. 

Grindrod Freight Services chief executive Bongiwe Ntuli will now fill the role of finance chief at the retailer.   

The group has undertaken a massive diversification exercise over the past few years. In 2015 the company made its foray into the UK with a £140m (R2.7bn) purchase of women’s fashion retailer Phase Eight. 

The group’s business complement in the UK was completed by the purchase of Whistles’ 46 stores and online business for an undisclosed outlay.

Thunström said the company was busy sorting out teething problems in its UK business. “If I look at the UK business at the moment, it is still three very separate businesses with separate head offices and separate accounting and online systems. 

“Our strategy in the next 12 months is to put them back in office together and that would allow us to look for other opportunities,” Thunström said.

The group has also enjoyed success Down Under where its South African peers have been battered in Australia.

Follow Business Report on Instagram here

- BUSINESS REPORT