Lewis Group has become the de facto leader among SA’s listed furniture and appliance retailers — and it didn’t really have to do much. The demise and restructuring of its listed rivals has left it with a comparatively larger footprint. Lewis CEO Johan Enslin says that, by his count, as many as 1,100 retail stores have closed over the past few years. There has long been talk that the furniture retail sector was overtraded and that for some chains to remain viable they would have to go through consolidation. The truth of this can be seen in Steinhoff’s subsidiary Pepkor closing 300 furniture and appliance retail operations over the past three years. It did this before Steinhoff’s troubles came to light. It even shut down its once iconic Joshua Doore chain in the restructuring. Pepkor, with retail chains like Russells and Bradlows, now has only 589 furniture and appliance shops and 163 Sleepmasters stores, compared with Lewis’s 779 outlets. There’s a similar story at the troubled Afric...

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