Lewis’ INspire to link with Beares in favour of brick and mortar model

’n Leser is baie ongelukkig met ’n sitkamerstel wat hy by Beares gekoop het.

’n Leser is baie ongelukkig met ’n sitkamerstel wat hy by Beares gekoop het.

  • Lewis Group lost R80 million in merchandise sales and R180 million in customer account collections.
  • INspire managed to grow sales by 65.1%.
  • CEO, Johan Enslin, said it is not plausible for the company to focus on online sales.

Lewis Group CEO Johan Enslin has announced that the company’s omni-channel business, INspire, will now link with Beares for a brick and mortar offering.

The furniture retailer announced on Tuesday that it had lost R80 million in merchandise sales in its year end March results, due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

According to the results, merchandise sales increased by 6.9% for the first 11 months and slowed in the last month of the financial year to a growth of 4.7%.

However, INspire managed to grow sales by 65.1% for the same period and the group expects more growth as the company increased their online presence post lockdown.

The group’s traditional retail brands Lewis, Best Home and Electric, and Beares increased sales by 3.2%.

“INspire does work as a standalone operation. But, we are always looking at ways to streamline the business and for us, the logical next step would be to add bricks and mortar to our overall offering,” said Enslin in a virtual presentation of their results on Tuesday.

Enslin said there is a synergy that exists between INspire and Beares that the company can build on and “it makes perfect sense for us to now have one management structure that can look after the Beares outlet in conjunction with INspire.”

The Cape Town based retailer said online sales will still be available but with this amalgamation, they can collapse the data centre operations that are costly to run and can instead empower stores to make direct contact with customers in terms of effecting the delivery and making sure the customer is happy with the quality of the goods.

“It’s a logical next step for us and we believe that there is a lot of things we will learn through this initiative and some of these learnings will in time be also applied to our other two traditional brands,” said Enslin.

Enslin also said this decision was driven by their target market as customers told them that it is beneficial for them to go look and feel the quality of goods and he said that a permanent move to online sales is not plausible and “we do not see that changing anytime soon”.  

The company declared a final dividend of 65 cents per share for the year, taking the total dividend for the year to 185 cents “As a group, we pride ourselves as we never had to suspended dividend payments since we got listed in 2004,”said Enslin. 

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