JSE-listed apparel, homeware and jewellery retail giant The Foschini Group (TFG) is uncertain when its 198 looted and damaged stores in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng will reopen.
In a trading update published on Monday, the group said it “continues to assess the damage caused to its stores and is quantifying losses to be recovered through its insurance policies”.
On July 16 it noted in a voluntary Sens update that 190 stores were affected by the unrest. However, in its latest statement, it said 198 were impacted by the looting and damage. The stores that were closed as a precautionary measure in the face of the riots have since reopened.
“It is not possible at this time to determine the impact [of the unrest] on the results for the half year [to the end of September] as there is no certainty as to when damaged stores will resume trading,” TFG added.
Thousands of stores hit
According to latest figures from the South African Council of Shopping Centres (Sacsc) around 3 880 retail stores were affected by the protest and looting in KwaZulu-Natal as well as parts of Gauteng and Mpumalanga, covering some 1.8 million square meters of gross lettable area (GLA).
KwaZulu-Natal was the worst affected, accounting for some 67% of the affected retail space. Gauteng accounted for around 30% of the space affected, while Mpumalanga made up the balance, Sacsc research shows.
Meanwhile, TFG said in its latest trading update that the group delivered a strong overall performance during the first quarter (April to June 2021) of its current (2022) financial year, with just over R10 billion in turnover.
It achieved group turnover growth of 15.8% compared to the same quarter in FY2020.
Most of this growth came through its acquisition of Jet from the now defunct Edcon.
Excluding Jet, turnover growth came in at just 1.9%.
The group pointed out that due to the substantial impacts of the various government-enforced lockdowns in the previous financial year, financial comparisons in its latest trading update were being provided against the first quarter of the 2020 financial year (April to June 2019).
“This provides more meaningful comparative analysis of the group’s trading performance,” it said.
TFG saw a robust performance in its TFG Africa and TFG Australia businesses, with turnover growth of 26.8% (ZAR) and 32.7% (AUD) respectively, compared to quarter one of its 2020 financial year.
Excluding Jet, TFG Africa’s turnover grew by 4.4% compared to the same quarter in FY2020.
“While the majority of the group’s outlets traded strongly during the past quarter, consumer spend, particularly for TFG Africa, remained muted as uncertainties around further Covid-19 outbreaks, extended lockdowns and the slow pace of the vaccine roll-out adversely impacted consumer confidence,” TFG said.
“In South Africa, the recent civil unrest has and will continue to impact consumer spend and business confidence especially where businesses’ ability to trade has been hampered through the widespread destruction in the affected areas … for a few weeks in July 2021,” it added.
The group noted that trade in its TFG London unit since the reopening of most outlets on April 12 2021 “has outperformed expectation across all three brands, with the business generating positive cash flow in Q1 FY2022″.