The Foschini Group’s latest acquisition set to boost furniture and textile jobs
The local furniture and textile manufacturing industry is set to receive a welcome boost following final Competition Commission approval for The Foschini Group to acquire Tapestry Home Brands, which includes the Coricraft, Dial-a-Bed, The Bed Store and Volpes brands.
Since acquiring Cotton Traders, the manufacturing arm of the Granny Goose business, in September last year, The Foschini Group (TFG) has boosted employment by 20%.
“The factory is running at full capacity, and we are planning a R20-million factory expansion,” says Shani Naidoo, TFG’s group director for the homeware division.
The investment fits in well with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition’s Master Plan for the South African Furniture Industry. A document released in April last year reveals that the South African furniture industry has seen a steady decline in employment over the past 20 years, dropping from more than 50,000 in 2020 to just more than 40,000 in 2019.
TFG already sources 73% of its clothing apparel locally, and expansion plans include the creation of about 10,000 jobs between now and 2026.
R600-million in capex has been allocated towards 342 new stores or 92,000m2 of new retail space, which is expected to bump revenue up by about R3.8-billion.
With an average of six employees per outlet, the store expansion initiative can be expected to generate more than 2,000 new employment opportunities.
TFG chief executive Anthony Thunström says the group expects to double its own local, quick-response clothing production from 15 million units in the current financial year to 31 million units by the end of the 2026 financial year.
“For each 1 million units of quick response apparel, we need two more manufacturing business units, each with approximately 200 employees, producing an average of 4,200 units a day for 247 days a year.
“Ultimately, we need the equivalent of 30 manufacturing business units to achieve the 2026 local manufacture target of 31 million units,” says TFG’s merchandise and supply chain managing director, Graham Choice.
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Choice says this will generate more than 1,820 new employment opportunities in TFG factories and another 4,190 across suppliers, totalling 6,000 new employment opportunities in the clothing manufacturing sector.
Thunström says the group is already exploring opportunities to further expand Tapestry’s manufacturing capabilities in furniture, bedding and home textiles to supply TFG’s homeware brands, particularly @home, with a view to substituting products that are currently imported with locally made goods.
“In all three of the Tapestry factories, we plan to further support their own manufacturing demand, as well as increasing production to cater for the ongoing growth of TFG’s existing homeware businesses. With some modest capital expenditure investments into these manufacturing facilities, we will significantly expand their capacity to cater for this increased demand.”
“As with the local manufacture of apparel, we expect to realise similar commercial benefits from local production of homeware such as sofas, linen and beds, including improved cash flow and reduced inventory holding requirements, while avoiding global supply chain disruptions and elevated freight costs.
“We will build on Tapestry’s established vertically integrated, direct-to-consumer business model as we unlock synergies with the TFG businesses,” Thunström said.
TFG has also committed, in its agreement with the Competition Commission, to open a minimum of 35 new stores within three years under the four Tapestry brands.
Naidoo is confident that the company will “comfortably overshoot this target”, bearing in mind that she has identified a need for an additional 17 stores under the Volpes brand alone. BM/DM