Swakop Edgars closes, retrenches staff

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Donna Collins

Swakopmund-Over a dozen Edgars staff members have been retrenched following management’s decision to shut the doors to one of the country’s oldest Edgars branches situated in the Swakopmund Central Business District (CBD), after the grave announcement was made in February this year.

The 21-year-old Edgars store, which was a long serving anchor tenant of the Frans Indongo Group, that owns the charming old style building and adjacent hotel – which is also on the market – was forced to close its doors on April 30 after a huge closing down sale.

Inside management sources claimed that for months business has failed to meet its targets and they were running at a loss.

The opening of a ‘sister’ branch in the modern new Platz Am Meer Shopping and Lifestyle centre at the Waterfront put the nail in the coffin for the weekend and festive season trade as customers prefer flocking to the new mall with its eating courts, variety of shops, huge supermarket and bustling atmosphere.

And with all positions filled last year already only a couple of staff were lucky enough to be integrated into the new store.

The opening of the N$600 million mixed-use beachfront development was in October 2016 and is anchored by Edgars, Checkers and Woolworths with approximately 70 tenants in total. This first ever shopping mall in the coastal holiday town has all the frills to attract shoppers.

But sadly many business in the town CBD have felt the pinch since the Platz Am Meer sprung up, with Edgars town branch being no exception. According to Edgars store manager Barbara Dove, the town branch could not keep head above water, with news of its closure coming as a terrible shock for the retrenched staff members, especially since jobs are so scarce.

“Management did not expect business to turn out the way it did and their plan to run two branches in Swakopmund backfired, because they have had to retrench most of their longstanding staff, some of whom have been working in shop for up to 19 years,” said Dove, who was fortunate to find a job at the CNA.

“For the size of the town and the current economic slump, only one Edgars could survive, and news of the closure hit the staff very hard, who despite a retrenchment package, still face the uncertainty of where their next salary will come from to pay the bills and feed their families.”

Meanwhile leading estate agency at the coast, Pam Golding, which acted as the rental agents acting between Edgars and the Frans Indongo Group, said that presently they do not have a new tenant in place. It was reported that Edgars were paying a rental of around N$130,000 a month.

Staff are currently still working inside the store, which is being stripped, cleaned and remaining stock packed up to be absorbed into other branches countrywide. The final day to evacuate will be on May 31 when they hand back the keys.

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