JOHANNESBURG - TFG’S turnover soared to R432m on Black Friday sales, double last year and more than 50percent higher than planned, chief information officer Brent Curry said yesterday.
“Black Friday was big for South Africa this year. We doubled sales to R432m, and this was 60percent above our target,” said Curry.
He added that, contrary to media reports, the TFG website did not crash on Black Friday.
“We experienced an early-morning slow-down. After the Takealot site crashed, Takealot customers migrated to our sites, resulting in erratic performance in the early morning.”
In addition to the crash of the Takealot website, banks experienced technical glitches. Nedbank’s payment system had a temporary crash, resulting in transactions being declined between 8am and 10am on Black Friday. “Black Friday is just a blip on our calendar, and the next couple of weeks are critical, and we are ready for the Christmas period,” said Curry.
TFG is reaping the fruits of its international diversification strategy. It grew its exposure in the UK by purchasing womenswear specialist Hobbs last month and acquired Australia-based menswear specialist Retail Apparel Group (Rag) in May for A$302.5m (R3billion at the time).
“What has helped is that we understand the market we buy into,” Curry said. “We ensure that the business has the right people and management, as well as a strong business model.”
In the next calendar year, TFG plans to add four new online stores to its online mall, including women’s fashion brands Donna, Foschini and The Fix and children’s brand Soda Bloc. It will also unveil the new TFG app in the first half of the year. Curry said TFG had learnt lessons from introducing e-commerce to its brick-and-mortar stores.
“Running online stores is different vastly from brick-and-mortar stores. It is tech-savvy and promotions-driven, because online customers want to see specials all the time,” he said. “E-commerce is the future. However, we see stores as being important for customer experience,” he added.
Curry acknowledged that the South African consumer was under a lot of pressure. “Fuel prices are going up, and that is going to hit consumers.
“Discretionary spending is also under pressure. However, we have got such a diverse portfolio. The most important issue for us is to gain market share,” said Curry. The retail industry is grappling with low consumer confidence, a weak economy and the influx of international brands, which were taking market share.
Curry said one of TFG’s competitive advantages was that it operates its own manufacturing plant, whereas competitors relied on imports.
- BUSINESS REPORT