Lewis expands local network
Furniture retailer Lewis will expand its network of stores after the Namibia Competition Commission approved its application to acquire all local Ellerines and Bears stores.
Speaking on the development this week, its Chief Executive Officer Johan Enslin said the newly acquired stores should make a meaningful contribution to the group’s profitability in the medium term. “The acquisition of these stores will provide Lewis with access to new segments of the furniture retail market and also expand our existing customer base in the countries [where they operate]. Lewis has operated in Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland for over 50 years so has extensive experience in these markets and a thorough understanding of the trading environments.”
Enslin said the addition of these Beares stores in southern Africa will further improve buying power and bring immediate scale benefits. The new stores are expected to be integrated into the Lewis Group’s operations by early May. Eighteen of the stores will in future trade under the Beares brand and three will be rebranded as Lewis stores. The Namibian stores form part of the Lewis Group’s R250 million acquisition of 57 Ellerines and Beares stores in southern Africa, with the other stores being in Botswana (20), Lesotho (10) and Swaziland (6). Lewis Group purchased the Beares brand and 61 stores in South Africa in 2014 after parent company Ellerines Furnishers was placed under business rescue. The Beares chain has since been expanded to 84 stores in South Africa under the Lewis Group’s ownership. Lewis, which has been operating in Namibia since the early 1970s currently employs 398 staff and the acquisition of these stores will secure the future of an additional 252 jobs. Lewis was one of the first local retailers to expand into neighbouring southern African countries in the late 1960s. Stores outside of South Africa now comprise 15% of the group’s store base.