It’s not often that an SA retailer’s venture into Australia pays off, but for apparel group TFG its expansion Down Under has worked out rather nicely. Though the likes of Woolworths and Pick n Pay have famously lost their way in Australia, TFG’s purchase in the past financial year of the Retail Apparel Group (RAG) for R2.94bn, and of Phase Eight, Whistles and Hobbs in the UK for an undisclosed sum, is paying off handsomely. RAG now falls under TFG Australia, and it increased sales 170% to A$239m for the six months to September. In rand terms, pretax profit jumped from R33.5m to R179.2m. This was a big boost for the group as a whole. Overall, revenue rose 28.6% to R15.9bn, its gross margin expanded from 51% to 53.6% and profit jumped from R1bn to R1.15bn. It’s a thumping vindication of its Australia foray, which raises the question of what TFG has done differently to others. "[Its] offshore strategy has been well executed relative to listed peers," says Argon Asset Management equity ...

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