SA’s struggling mall owners need a few lucky breaks in 2018, and one of them could be the resurgence of the once mighty Edcon — owner of Edgars – which was almost brought to its knees by a private equity buyout in 2007. Following a debt restructuring in 2016, Edcon is now under the stewardship of former Massmart CEO Grant Pattison. Business Day asked him what he has been doing since taking over in January. I’ve put together a four-point strategy… The first is to continue the retail turnaround [under former CEO] Bernie Brooks’s creditors plan: take out international brands, focus on private brands, improve service levels through adding staff, decentralise the company and reduce costs. We have to increase our trading densities by 25% and increase stock turns from three to five. That largely has to be done by making our store portfolio more efficient, which will mean less space going forward. Does the group own its property portfolio? We lease it entirely. It’s a five-year strategy so ...

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