A few weeks ago, the FM reported that Edcon, an iconic SA retail brand that began life in 1929, was facing an imminent cash crunch. This weekend, news emerged that Edcon had written to its landlords, asking for a two-year "rent holiday" of 41% for all its 1,350 stores. The reality may be less dramatic than the "Edcon crashes" headlines suggested, partly because its stores are still open and trading. But there’s no denying that these are dire times for SA’s largest clothing retailer. That’s not surprising. Last month, CEO Grant Pattison admitted to the FM that new funding was needed. "The current process we’re under is looking for shareholders, new and old, to inject new capital into the business," he said. Now, a letter dated December 11 and sent to Edcon’s landlords spells out details of how this new "restructuring plan" will work. What is apparently on the table is that the retailer’s existing funders would convert R9bn of their debt into equity, while injecting another R700m. The...

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