Second hand clothing imports hurting Edgars: MD

Edgars 17 March 17

CLOTHING retail chain Edgars Stores says the rapid increase in unregulated commerce in the country is hurting its operations as it is made to compete with businesses that do not pay tax.

Edgars — a local unit of South Africa’s Edcon — is caught up in a vicious price war with the informal sector, which sources most of its used apparel from China, South Africa, Botswana and Tanzania.

The group’s managing director, Linda Masterson, said there was a need for Government to control importation of cheap used clothing into the country.

“It [importation of second-hand clothing] is really a very big problem. Obviously, that comes back to corruption in our country that we have got these second-hand clothes that are on our streets,” Masterson said.

“It means businesses like ourselves that pay tax are being marginalised and pushed aside by the businesses that do not pay tax.

Zimbabwe banned the importation of used clothes from September 1, 2015 but Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr Mike Bimha, said in January this year that the ban was unenforceable because the local industry had no capacity to meet demand.

Industry experts say Zimbabwe has a market for 80 million garments annually but only 20 million of those are locally manufactured. Almost 90 percent of imported new clothes are exempt from duty because of regional trade agreements.

The flood of used clothes has compounded the woes of a local textile industry and squeezes the margins of retailers such as Edgars. To counter the threat, Masterson said Edgars is focusing more on giving customers value for money as well as quality.

“Yes, there are the poor that have the right to be serviced by second-hand clothing but it has been done properly and in a legal manner,” she said.

She said the group’s move to offer credit facilities to those in the informal sector has been well received by the market.

“Our informal sector customers can apply for an account with us. They do have to undergo psychometric typed test which is done on a tablet and then provided they pass that, we give the informal sector accounts. Financial inclusion is something that is important to a country,” she said.

At the group’s annual general meeting early this month, Masterson said that the group’s profit-after-tax nearly trebled to $1 million in the year-to-date, from $35 000 last year and 200 percent above budget due to lower costs.

She said the operating loss at $1.4 million was much improved from the $3 million loss last year, largely due to the positive impact of the cost cutting measures adopted in 2016.

The group had 255 080 accounts as at end of April, with 63 percent of them being active compared to 69 percent last year. — The Source

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  • Ronald Khumalo

    Edgars you cloths are too expensive of cheap quality and are poorly made, l would rather buy my cloths in South Africa or at the flea markets.(The bales)

    • Weekly Moyo

      I second this..

    • Garayimosepanzvimbo Mupedzere

      Mabhero tinowadira kuti mitengo yacho yakaderera chete. Zvino zvawati Edgars inodhura votengesawo ma shirts for $ 3.00 heere sekumabhero!!

  • Yizo-yizo

    We are warm this winter because of mabhero. Warm Socks going a dollar for 2 pairs whilst Edgars you pay for them for 6 months. You miss an installment and you will not rest with countless phone calls. So for peace of mind I support the bales industry. The Gvt should find a way for them to pay tax.

  • 1975

    Linda Masterson i guess you are at the helm of edgars management because the shareholders and all the interested parties had faith that you can deliver. All i can say to you is competition will always be there whether its done legitimately or otherwise, all you have to do is make sure you are ahead of the pack. complaining that government is not doing this or that wont help. Instead you should be using your south african muscle to bring in clothes at a cheaper price because frankly speaking its cheaper for me to fly to tanzania and buy new clothes of better quality than what edgars is selling. So Linda you have a million dollars in profit what does the guy with the bales have? If you want their share of the market then employ gorilla marketing strategies (its dog eat dog) but make sure you emerge the winner all the time.

  • MaNyathi

    ngitshene kabi, lomqando kangiwuzwa ngiziqgokele I coat yami eye $6 eyakoKhothama, I Edgars sengatshiyanalayo, ngifelani kanti?

    • Garayimosepanzvimbo Mupedzere

      Taura hako shamwari, even in New York if I was on Canal Street, you get to buy everything from used clothes to used snickers. It’s everywhere, it’s world wide thing. Saka ngaticheneyi nema zitye.

  • abbie makiwa

    If Edgars feels that the sale of second hand clothes is bringing them down in business then they have to close their shops.How could they compare the prices in zimbabwe with those in South Africa where quality is exeptionally good.Thina lapha eZimbabwe we rely on Khothama and siyatshena ukhumangalisayo.Once you visit Khothama Botique carrying a $20 make sure you are going to buy for a family of 5 or more people clothes of quality that will take them for the next two years or more as compared to Edgars that sells a min i brief for $10.Kana abayiwa mumwena ngaabude.