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TFG on tech hiring spree to ramp up digital strategy

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TFG, formerly known as The Foschini Group, has introduced TFGLabs, a new division with a mandate to attract the continent’s best tech talent, as the local fashion retailer invests significantly in technical capabilities to accelerate its digital strategy.

With 31 retail brands under its ownership, trading in fashion, jewellery, accessories, sporting apparel, cellular, homeware and furniture, TFG is among SA’s largest retail groups.

The retail giant says as part of its mission to deliver an agile world-class shopping experience, it is investing in expertise and technical capabilities to ramp up its omni-channel strategy, with plans to add over 100 new employees.

The newly established TFGLabs aims to attract tech talent to develop software and solutions that will redefine the shopping experience and reshape its omni-channel capabilities, says the group.

This strategic focus includes the creation of a new customer capability function and the appointment of a chief customer officer, who will ensure customer experience remains front and centre of the new strategy.

The group recently appointed seasoned entrepreneurs −co-founders of online fashion retailer Superbalist.com, Luke Jedeikin and Claude Hanan − as co-chief omni officers to implement its digital transformation strategy.

“We are laying the foundations to become the largest, most reliable and most profitable e-commerce destination on the continent, via a simplified, customer-centric approach, aimed at maximising group scale, minimising duplication and cost, and leveraging our incredible assets,” says Hanan.

“We have built customer relationships that span decades via the work of our talented store teams who provide a world-class shopping experience. We won’t lose this − the future of retail is omni.”

The new announcement comes as the company yesterday reported an annual operating loss of R718.2 million, for the year ended in March, down from a profit of R4.7 billion the previous year.

However, the group said its online retail turnover has seen strong growth, now contributing 12% to its total retail turnover, up from 8.4% a year ago, as more customers have taken to e-commerce since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2018, the retail giant launched what it called SA's first online marketplace, to help the retail chain reposition its e-commerce strategy, offering local consumers an online platform that would take on global e-commerce marketplaces such as Amazon.com and Walmart.

The retail chain’s marketplace offers local consumers a one-stop shopping experience across over 20 of its affiliate brands, such as travel, gifting, toys, books and flowers.

With its network of stores, TFG is now looking to extend its click-and-collect points, to allow customers to buy online and “pickup-in-store”, at over 3 000 locations around SA.

“Many stores are within close proximity of our loyal customers, allowing us to drive down delivery times and costs. Customers now demand an offering that allows them to buy what they want, how they want, when they want and where they want. This strategy implemented over the last few years is positioned to offer customers an always-on one-stop-shop,” concludes Hanan.

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