Innovative product sourcing both locally and offshore, together with the strength of long-term supplier relationships, ensures that the Group offers customers distinctive ranges. Added-value features and components ensure differentiation and enhance the value of the merchandise.
New ranges are launched frequently to introduce customers to the ongoing newness of the merchandise.
In the traditional retail brands which target the lower to middle income groups, the focus is on offering quality, value-for-money merchandise ranges. Products are sourced to meet the specific needs of this customer base.
UFO offers luxury exclusive furniture to cash customers in the higher income market.
In the current constrained economic environment sales are increasingly promotionally driven as customers seek value.
The merchandise offering covers three core product categories:
Furniture: Bedroom suites, beds, base sets, mattresses, lounge and dining room suites, wall units and kitchen units. Lounge suites and base sets account for 62.1% of sales in this category.
Appliances: Refrigerators, freezers, stoves, washing machines, microwave ovens and small electrical appliances, including well-known brands Defy, Russell Hobbs, KIC, LG and Kelvinator.
Audiovisual: Mainly television sets, audio equipment and laptop computers from leading brands Hisense, Sinotec, LG and Panasonic.
In each category the Group follows a sell-up strategy of “good”, “better”, “best” or “more for less”
Management continues to focus on increasing sales of the higher margin furniture and appliance product categories, while more contemporary lines are offered in each furniture sub-category to attract younger customers.
An electronic merchandise catalogue is used in all traditional retail stores, providing the customer access to the complete merchandise range, despite space limitations in stores. The full product range, including all available colour and fabric options, is displayed on a large touch screen.
Products are sourced from a wide range of local and international suppliers to ensure that customers are offered exclusive merchandise ranges. Imported merchandise accounted for 37% (2020: 29%) of stock purchases in the Reporting period.
More goods were imported during the Reporting period due to South African suppliers being faced with a shortage of raw materials required to support production.
As a member of the Proudly South African Association, the Group is committed to promoting social and economic change. The Group sources locally by investing and partnering with local manufacturers, making a meaningful contribution to building a better South Africa, alleviating unemployment and retaining existing employment opportunities.
Products are supported by local and overseas after-sales service to ensure quality standards are maintained. Prior to consignments being dispatched from international suppliers, samples of all imported products are assembled and tested for quality purposes.
The Group’s supply chain model is based on merchandise being delivered directly by suppliers to stores, supported by leading shipping and logistics providers for imported stock.
As the Group does not operate distribution centres or centralised warehouses for the traditional retail brands, each store has a storage facility which is located close to the store, generally in areas with lower rentals than retail space. This strategy limits the build-up of obsolete stock and reduces markdowns.
Traditional retail stores have dedicated delivery vehicles which enables 90% of deliveries to be completed within 24 hours.