EDGARS Stores Limited is optimistic that the relaxed lockdown will improve customer footfall in the second half of 2021 as the clothing retail group moves to achieve the set profit forecast for the year.
This is subsequent to a slowdown in volumes uptake of the group’s clothing lines in the first half of 2021 as it lost close to seven trading weeks to store closures and reduced trading hours due to Covid-19 induced lockdowns.
Resultantly, the group’s unit sales dropped by 2 percent to 945 000 from 963 000 recorded in the prior comparable period in 2020.
Although Jet chain posted a 1 percent surge in unit sales to 526 691, Edgars chain unit sales declined by 6 percent to 344 249 from 366 720 in the same period last year.
In the period, Carousel manufacturing unit sales declined to 74 021 from 121 093 units in 2020 resulting in lower efficiencies relative to last year.
The factory, however, secured its first export sales to the region in this quarter and management continues exploring export markets for more opportunities.
The group is, however, upbeat and intends to grow its network by opening Edgars Avondale and a Jet branch in Hwange before the end of October this year. This will be following branch openings at Jet Nkwame Nkrumah (Harare) and Mutoko in April and August this year respectively.
In a statement of the financials accompanying the 26 weeks results to July 11, Edgars chairman Themba Sibanda, said anticipated that his group would attain the set profit targets for the year, banking on the increased sales normally experienced towards the end of the year.
“Since the relaxing of lockdowns, trading in the chains has seen significant improvement with an increase in customer footfall, we hope the momentum will be maintained going forward.
“Traditionally, the last quarter of the year contributes 35 -40 percent annual turnover. Management is confident that the profit forecast will be met, “said Sibanda.
In the period under review, Edgars loan book grew to $76 million from $30,5 million realised in 2020 translating to a 150,4 percent increase while Interest income was 85 percent up from the first quarter.
“The quality of the book remains good with over 80 percent of the book current, “indicated Sibanda.
The group’s revenue for the 26 weeks under review grew by 61,3 percent to close the period under review at $1,3 billion from $806 million realised in the prior comparable period.
Sale of merchandise gained 63 percent to $1,3 billion from $788 million in the relative period in 2020.
Profit for the period, however, declined by 12,4 percent to $65 million compared to $74,3 million reported in the comparable period last year in inflation-adjusted terms.
The group, however, indicated that the ongoing vaccination programme being spearheaded by the Government would result in the achievement of herd immunity thereby making it unnecessary for Government to resort to lockdowns in the future.