Retailer and financial service group HomeChoice International has opened its first brick and mortar showroom in the Johannesburg CBD. HomeChoice is best known for selling homewear, electronic goods, bedding and short-term loans through its mail-order catalogue and online presence. The move to have its own store fronts is part of its strategy of broadening its sales channels. “For me, it’s really important she [the customer] can shop any which way she wants,” said HomeChoice retail CEO Leanne Buckham. The launch of its showrooms comes at a difficult time for the retail sector. The pressure on consumers could also be seen in provisions for impairments in its retail operations rising from 18.6% to 20.6%. There is a similar story with financial services, which saw provisions for impairments increasing from 14.9% to 16%. For now, Buckham said the showroom concept was performing well. HomeChoice traditionally grew its customer base by word-of-mouth and sales agents, but now having a store...

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