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Edgars branch forced to relocation by vendors

by Staff reporter
28 Feb 2023 at 10:45hrs | Views
GIANT retail clothing company, Edgars Stores Limited, has closed one of its prominent branches in Bulawayo citing the need to secure an alternative location that suits its brand expectation amid pressure from illegal forex dealers and vendors.

Popularly known as ‘Edgars Tredgold' due to its proximity to the Tredgold Building, which houses the Magistrates Court, the closed branch was situated at the corner of Herbert Chitepo Street and Leopold Takawira Avenue in the city centre, which is now a hive of activity for vendors and illegal forex dealers.

Edgars southern region operations manager, Mr Thulani Ncube, said the company was targeting up-market customers who need shopping convenience hence the location of the closed outlet was no longer suitable for their customers.

"We have officially closed the branch, we won't be using that place anymore because there is now an influx of illegal forex traders and vendors outside the store and it was no longer aligning with the expectations of our brand," he said.

"Edgars is an upmarket brand, so our customers are people who would love shopping convenience in terms of parking space and ambiance outside and inside the shop and minimal interactions when doing their shopping."

Informal trading has become rife in Bulawayo, which has seen virtually all pavements being blocked as traders will be competing for client attention and displaying their products such as fruits, vegetables, clothing, and shoes, among others, on the floor.

The development has created tight competition among vendors and shops as informal traders usually sell their products at cheaper prices, capitalising on the fact that they do not pay taxes, rentals, and bills as some of their products are smuggled into the country.

Mr Ncube said Edgars always upgrades their facilities from time to time to meet customer expectations but noted that there are some factors they cannot control.

He said the second reason, which made them close the branch was the high operating cost.

"While the branch was no longer aligning with the expectations of our brand, the operating cost of that side of town still remained high, so it didn't make any sense for us to continue operating there and we have to decide where to move that store," said Mr Ncube.

"So, we are opening a new branch soon, work is already underway at a new site that we will advise in due course."

Asked about the effects of the influx of second-hand clothes in the market, Mr Ncube said there is a need for regulations of the informal sector for the sake of protecting established businesses that pay duty and tax to the Government.

Source - The Chronicle