Will Edcon, the owner of Edgars, survive? This is a question that has faced the 89-year-old retailer for what feels like an eternity. Its struggles have nothing to do with the current depressed spending patterns of consumers. The store, like some big-box retailers in the US, has been in a steady decline for decades. Someone should be applauding the old executive team at the former brewing company SAB, which unbundled the retailer at the end of the previous century. It was perfect timing really, for though the retailer's fortunes were on the surface revived by Steve Ross's tenure that ended in 2011, this was evidently unsustainable. Underpinning the American CEO's turnaround was a flood of cheap Chinese imports. It was a period marked by the rise of China and the manufacture of cheap textiles, something that the world's second-biggest economy has long moved on from in favour of more valuable hi-tech production. The influx of imports saw costs for retailers come down quite significant...

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