The Foschini Group (TFG) – arguably South Africa’s most tech savvy legacy retailer – is growing its online shopping presence further with the introduction of Galaxy & Co to its cluster of fashion and lifestyle store brands already online.
The move is even more shrewd as the Galaxy & Co jewellery brand has been relaunched as an online-only store.
TFG CEO Anthony Thunström revealed the “pure play” move to Moneyweb recently. The innovative jewellery offering is now live online and is pitched as “value-driven” compared to the group’s other major jewellery chains, American Swiss and Sterns (which also have an online presence).
“We purchased the Galaxy & Co brand after the chain went out of business a few years ago … With the strong growth in TFG’s online business, we thought now is a great time to relaunch the brand in the market as a pure play online jewellery store,” he said.
Cape Town-based TFG is known to experiment with new brands and retail concepts such as The Fix, Archive and the tech-focused chain hi. It has done extensive research and has been planning the new offering for a while.
“We want to leverage off a brand that is already well-known to South Africans, but are putting a new spin on the relaunch of Galaxy & Co as an online offering,” noted Thunström.
Galaxy & Co has a history going back to 1930 and was once owned by JSE-listed Mr Price Group. However, Mr Price sold the jewellery chain to a private consortium that included management in 2006, just a decade after it acquired the chain.
TFG said in a statement on Thursday that the new Galaxy & Co “offers a collection of fashionable jewellery that is value-driven with no compromise on quality”.
In a move away from its past as a conventional mid- to higher-end jewellery chain, the brand has been given a youthful makeover.
Relaunched under TFG, Galaxy & Co will now focus on jewellery made from sterling silver or brass, which is plated with 18ct gold or rhodium and is at price points ranging from R49 to R999.
‘Fresh and youthful’
TFG director Shani Naidoo said Galaxy & Co is an extension of the group’s jewellery portfolio and is a “fresh and youthful jewellery brand” that is only available online.
However, she revealed that in time the group may introduce bricks and mortar stores too.
“The addition of Galaxy & Co to the TFG universe means the group now owns three jewellery brands, with heritage brands Sterns and American Swiss having launched online stores in August this year.
“We have been delighted by the interest in online jewellery shopping since the launch of the Sterns and American Swiss online stores. The enthusiasm to shop jewellery online inspired us to bring Galaxy & Co to life as a purely online experience,” Naidoo added.
She said the new offering is part of TFG’s ongoing commitment to transforming the group digitally.
TFG’s relaunch of Galaxy & Co represents competition for the likes of consumer jewellery chains like Claire’s, Accessorize and Lovisa.
Though the group has opted to go the gold-plated route for its new offering, the move is likely to be closely watched by the likes of Luxe Holdings (owner of NWJ Jewellers) and even online operator Netflorist, which also sells jewellery.
TFG’s direct competitors Truworths and Woolworths, as well as international chains operating in South Africa like H&M, may also pay attention, especially with TFG buying value clothing retail chain Jet from Edcon a few months ago.