Edcon is betting its future on an old department store format that is under pressure worldwide. The struggling retailer, which has a large debt burden and has increasingly been losing market share to international retailers such as H&M and Zara, is going back to basics as it prepares itself for the biggest battle in its history. Key to this strategy is focusing on the original 89-year-old department store format of Edgars. But in a world where the department store retailing format seems to be dying, as evidenced by the recent closure of Stuttafords stores, some analysts are questioning Edcon’s move. "I don’t know if they will survive. Edgars will continue to lose market share and there is a reasonable chance that they will follow the same route as Stuttafords," says Alec Abraham, a senior equity analyst at Sasfin. "The big difference between Edgars and Stuttafords is Edgars is partly finding their relevance and boosting profitability and getting rid of more brands and doing more hou...

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