Edgars heads for the auction block and South Africans worry about potential job losses for workers. The economic frailties with the giant retail trader don’t bother the day-to-day customers too much, All they know is that Edgars delivered poor quality service and made some strange clothing range decisions. Leaving the economists to figure the reasons why and possible ways forward, most consumers on social media just talk about how they see it.
Edgars goes on auction – Bloomberg
Bloomberg reported that “Administrators for parent Edcon Holdings Ltd. put the retailer up for sale alongside sister companies Jet and Thank U.” It seems that the decision came after losses from COVID-19. But many customers noted that for a long time, Edgars Fashion sold very expensive clothing and much of it was very old fashioned.
Others complained that customer service seemed very bad. And, those complaints on Twitter came long before the coronavirus lockdown even started. That’s despite the CEO claiming he dealt with all customer complaints personally. While more people felt concerned about Jet stores, few of them expressed any heartbreak for the executives of Edgars. But, they feel very concerned about those thousands of potential job losses by workers.
Bad decisions and Edcon
Those who cared to talk about Edcon and executives over the years tossed out some theories. One person noted, “Then Pravin and the failed executive they made Eskom’s CEO think its wise to hire the CFO (who should be held responsible for failing Edcon despite two PIC bailouts) as head of Eskom Treasury. and the finance min responsible for PIC is quiet about the PIC losses.”
But mostly, people at grassroots complained about the basics. And, at the end of the day, any retailer who forgets their target market should expect longterm problems. Every successful entrepreneur learns that what counts for customers are action, appreciation, price, service, and quality. Judging from customer comments on Twitter after the news about Edgars broke, it seems the retailer missed a few of those areas over the years.
Grassroots Edgars’ customers comment about relevancy on Twitter
Many people pointed to Edgars not staying current and relevant to their consumers. One said, “They never evolved with time, remember their requirements to open [an] account with them was home landline number.” Others also mentioned the lack of evolution. Another person noted, “Edcon n its chain never transformed…..there was alot of competition but their very old style clothes still on shelves n expensive,[sic].”
Another comment read: “Edgars did not move with our lifestyle. They were very stubborn to change their styles. A golf tshirt that was there 2010 it’s still there. Regular jeans no skinny or slim fit. This is sad but so wish other Entrepreneurs can [learn] a lot from one of the biggest mistake edgars did.”
Did Edgars miss their target market’s wants and needs?
Plenty of people felt critical of the way Edgars operated. One astute person noted, “Clothes were terrible quality in recent years. – Disorganized clothing racks – Stale style – Overpriced – Silly marketing gimmicks and price hiking – Too many brands, they needed to trim down.”
Others talked about the easy credit that Edgars gave. More than one commented on it. This person wrote: “They also gave credit to people who can’t afford credit, students. I had friends in Varsity in 2015 who had accounts at Edgars. Ba layega. The foschini group is next.” Possibly the easy credit met people’s wants at the price of their day-to-day needs.
People hope Jet gets a buyer
Jet stores could well be the one chain worth saving. Many people agree with that. The company meets the customers’ needs pretty well, it seems. One person cited “Lulama Qongqo, Analyst at Mergence Investment Managers“ as saying that “Jet is the business worth buying.” Notably, “Jet has more outlets than Edgars, has cheaper clothing, a resilient kidswear category, a Thank U loyalty plan, and a finance unit with about 14 million account holders.”
Putting it plain and simple, one tweeter wrote, “Eish. Edgars is the dud, Jet is salvageable.” And, the appeal of Jet goes back a while. In April, when news came that Edcon struggled financially, one person wrote, “Jet is definitely a division that Edcon must make sure doesn’t fall. Can’t they sell it to another company? I wouldn’t miss Edgars/CNA… haven’t stepped in either in over [a] decade! But I can’t wait for Jet to open amid #level4lockdown. Jet is as important as Mr. Price & Pep.”
What are your feelings about Edgars? Do you hope that Jet gets a buyer and continues operating? Do you fear for the many people who work at Edgars who might lose their jobs? Sound off in the comments below.
Remember to check back with SAns Newsfeed often for more news about the South African economy and Edgars.