Iconic Cape Town clothing brand House of Monatic has been sold
Cape Town - The iconic Cape Town clothing manufacturer House of Monatic has been saved from the brink of closure and has been sold to The Foschini Group (TFG) for an undisclosed sum.
Known for their suits and tailoring, House of Monatic, which is currently owned by Brimstone Investments, has a history and heritage that spans over 100 years in Cape Town. The clothing manufacturer had brands such as Carducci and CSquared.
After successive years of operating losses, there was a strong possibility that House of Monatic would’ve had to close its doors. In 2019, the company underwent a “right-sizing” process and 140 staff members were affected. Three years ago, Brimstone announced a loss of R44.1 million from the House of Monatic operations in the previous financial year, 2018.
In it’s financial update, the week, Brimstone announced that House of Monatic “revenue decreased by 57% to R58.6 million (2019: R137.3m) and the company reported a loss of R104.8m compared to a loss of R32.6m in the prior year”.
It was also in the financial results that Brimstone this week announced it was selling House of Monatic. “Subsequent to year end, the company entered into a binding heads of agreement with another clothing manufacturer to dispose of the factory’s manufacturing assets and transfer of the related factory staff with effect from no earlier than 1 April 2021.”
Already Brimstone had paid R6.1 million to House of Monatic staff in the form of retrenchment packages and sold the properties in Salt River and moved operations to Epping before selling up.
SA Clothing and Textile Workers Union (Sactwu) general secretary, Andre Kriel has welcomed the sale. He said recent retrenchments were par for the course.
“These are not unusual ways when a factory is going through very difficult times like House of Monatic has done. House of Monatic was on the verge of complete closure, and what this does now is to prevent a complete closure and poise the company for future growth in employment.
“We (Sactwu) can say without any fear of contradiction that we are extremely pleased that there will now be this new owner that will take over, which is linked to a retailer and that is very significant because it means that the future of the company will now be better secured and jobs can grow quicker in future.
“What we do know about The Foschini Group is that they have made it very public that there are two components to their future strategy. The one is increasing local procurement and secondly to increase local jobs within the industry,” added Kriel.
The House of Monatic staff will be integrated with the staff of Prestige Clothing, which is part of TFG. Head of TFG Design Centre, TFG Manufacturing and Prestige Clothing, Graham Choice said: “Prestige Clothing Pty Ltd, wholly owned by TFG, will be absorbing the House of Monatic employees and integrating them into their manufacturing family from 1 April 2021.”
He added: “This is part of a multifaceted attempt to retain scarce skills in the clothing and textiles industry and specifically in Cape Town, where this industry has been decimated over the past two decades.”
Choice said they have big plans for the future. “Through its design and manufacturing division, TFG will upgrade the plant and manufacturing processes in line with their quick response manufacturing methodology. We believe that combining modern machinery and processes with the excellent skills House of Monatic employees have developed over decades will produce quality formal wear and will ensure commercial return for shareholders.”
The current managing director of House of Monatic, Wendy Nathan, said: “House of Monatic is bound by confidentiality in terms of the memorandum of agreement between itself and the buyer and is therefore, not at liberty to comment at this stage."