Fashion Retail Industry in Zimbabwe: Sevious Mushosho Discusses Edgars Stores’ Visionary Course

Sevious Mushosho provides insights into Edgars Stores Limited, a prominent player in Zimbabwe’s fashion retail sector, with a focus on quality, affordability, and a varied product portfolio. Mushosho delves into the upcoming foray into online retail, featuring an innovative ERP system and a strategic digital marketing campaign. He also highlights the commitment to rejuvenating local manufacturing, a widespread retail footprint in Zimbabwe, and an ambitious three-year vision to establish Edgars as a leading regional departmental store.

Interview with Sevious Mushosho, Group CEO of Edgars Stores Limited

Sevious Mushosho, Group CEO of Edgars Stores Limited

Could you provide some background information on Edgars Stores Limited, specifically its role within a larger group?

Edgars Stores Limited was established in 1946 and initially operated as a local entity before expanding its presence across Africa. It has held the position of the leading fashion retailer in Zimbabwe for many years. Formerly owned by Edcon, South Africa, Edgars became part of our portfolio in 2019 when we, Sub Sahara Capital Group based in Mauritius, acquired it. Sub Sahara Capital Group manages a diverse portfolio in Zimbabwe comprising 22 businesses spanning various sectors such as mining, retail, agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, and, notably, retail through Edgars.

Edgars stands as one of our major enterprises within the fashion industry. The acquisition in 2019 marked our inaugural foray into the fashion sector. Since then, we have gained a comprehensive understanding of the industry’s dynamics. Now, I am confident in our ability to propel the business forward, leveraging our competitive advantages.

At Edgars, we differentiate ourselves by offering exclusive and fashionable merchandise unavailable elsewhere in the country. Additionally, we extend credit terms ranging from six to nine months, facilitating affordability for our medium-income customers. Our clientele includes top-tier customers who appreciate high-quality offerings, particularly through our Charter Club, catering to those willing to invest in garments ranging from $500 to $1,000. Interestingly, we find ourselves in a market segment with minimal competition, consistently earning the top brand accolade in Zimbabwe, with Jet as our second offering targeting medium to low-income customers.

Despite global supply chain challenges affecting the industry, Edgars has successfully maintained its dominance. This year, we reclaimed our position as the premier fashion retailer in the country. Looking forward, we plan to expand our offerings through the acquisition of new suppliers and the strategic recapitalization of our manufacturing capacity, already underway. This move allows us greater control over the supply chain and ensures the maintenance of high-quality standards.

We have observed a competitor facing difficulties, providing us with an opportunity to expand our retail presence. Last year’s oversight in acquiring merchandise from the same source as our competitors has been rectified through a change in management. We have returned to our traditional business approach, focusing on identifying quality fabrics, staying abreast of international design trends, and sourcing the best materials to produce garments that can compete globally. This shift has revitalized our business, evident in our growing monthly sales and an increase in stock turnover from 1.5 times to approximately four times, presenting a promising opportunity to establish Edgars as one of Zimbabwe’s premier retailers.

Could you provide insights into current trends in online retail?

Recently, we have observed the emergence of smaller players capitalizing on online shopping in the country. Utilizing platforms like WhatsApp, they facilitate online orders and provide delivery services to customers. Simultaneously, there is a notable presence of international online retailers, including Shein, Edgars, and Woolworths in South Africa, all actively engaging in online commerce. As of now, we have not ventured into this space. Our approach involves an upcoming change to our ERP system scheduled for the next year, enabling us to establish a foothold in the online retail sector. Our strategy revolves around a meticulously planned digital marketing campaign to guide customers to our physical stores and encourage them to make in-store purchases, setting the stage for our future online shopping platform. We anticipate a 10% boost in our performance upon the launch of online shopping.

Crucial to our journey was the enhancement of product quality, the expansion of product ranges, and the revitalization of our stores. Introducing new store layouts, aligned with international standards observed in places like Dubai, Singapore, and the United States, is a key element. The inaugural store with this innovative layout will be unveiled in Bulawayo next month, with subsequent rollouts planned from January to the end of June, covering all 26 Edgars stores and 36 Jet stores nationwide. This represents a substantial undertaking, necessitating meticulous project management, but we are fully committed to achieving this transformation and providing our customers with a world-class shopping experience.

It is worth noting that our stores are presently well-stocked with high-quality merchandise sourced from reputable suppliers in South Africa. We have received positive feedback, with some acknowledging that our quality surpasses that of South African counterparts. As we head into the Christmas season, our focus is on meeting customer expectations, both through our physical stores and our upcoming venture into the online retail space.

You mentioned the procurement of materials. Regarding that, is the sewing and designing done locally in Zimbabwe, or do you import? Do you have an industrial facility where you produce these items yourself?

Yes, we operate a sizable factory in Bulawayo, which stands as the largest clothing manufacturer in Zimbabwe. At its peak, we employed 3,500 workers and exported products to Europe and America, with a focus on the American market. We also had exports to Zambia, Malawi, and South Africa. However, due to political and economic challenges in our country, we lost our competitive edge and ceased exports. Subsequently, we shifted our focus to internal production, emphasizing supply chain control and quality management. Despite facing challenges and operating below full capacity, we have made efforts to revitalize the manufacturing sector. When I joined the business last year, the manufacturing unit had 47 employees, and we have since increased that number to 358. Our goal is to reach 1,000 employees by the end of December.

To strengthen our competitive advantage, we have redirected some of our supplies from local sources to our in-house manufacturing, allowing us to better understand costs, maintain quality control, and stabilize our supply chain – an essential aspect of retail operations. Additionally, we have local partners who manufacture for us, and we collaborate with local manufacturers through CMTs (cut, make, and trim) arrangements, where we provide fabric and designs, and they handle the assembly.

In terms of materials, we import fabric from India, China, South Africa, and Mauritius. Our designs are crafted by local designers, but we also collaborate with European designers through partnerships. For our suits and formal wear, we work closely with a partner named Maxwell Clothing, whose designers are predominantly based in Europe. The equipment used in our factory is sourced from Germany and Italy, reflecting a European influence.

Beyond our local operations, we engage manufacturers in South Africa, Mauritius, China, and Turkey. The process involves selecting quality fabric aligned with our standards and agreeing on designs based on international fashion trends. While some designs feature exclusivity, not found elsewhere in Europe or America, we ensure they align with our local market. One of our notable suppliers, Star Knitwear in Mauritius, exports 70% of its production to Europe, 20% to America, and 10% to South Africa. This year, they became part of our supply chain, contributing high-quality products and reinforcing our commitment to excellence. They are one of the leading manufacturers in Mauritius, having successfully overcome challenges and strengthened their position in the market. So, in essence, that is our operational approach. It encapsulates the methodology through which we obtain both the designs and the fabric.

Aside from Harare and Bulawayo, do you have retail shops across Zimbabwe?

You can locate our retail stores throughout the entire country. We have stores not only in urban areas like Harare and Bulawayo but also in small growth points, towns, and rural areas. Our presence extends to all cities in the country, ensuring representation in every corner of Zimbabwe.

Could you mention some of the towns and cities where your stores are located?

In total, we have 25 stores. In Harare, we currently have 8 stores scattered throughout the city. These locations include the Central Business District (CBD) and various residential areas. We also have 3 stores in Bulawayo, 2 in Mutare, as well as stores in Gweru, Masvingo, Victoria Falls, Kwekwe, Hwange, Marondera, Chinhoyi, Bindura, Chegutu, Zvishavane, Chiredzi and Kadoma.

Let’s delve into your vision for the next three years.

Firstly, our goal is to solidify our position as the premier departmental store in Zimbabwe. We aim to establish a world-class retail experience offering a diverse range of high-quality products. This initiative is aimed at providing our customers, especially women and mothers, with more options and access to top-notch products without having to travel to Singapore, Dubai, or South Africa for their shopping needs. To support this vision, our focus will be on monitoring costs rigorously to ensure our pricing remains competitive. We aspire to set our prices 15% below South African retail prices, eliminating the need for anyone to venture outside the country for shopping. This vision extends to becoming the top departmental store in southern Africa within two years, effectively dominating the region. While we already command a significant presence in Zimbabwe, we aim to substantiate our dominance by offering the right product ranges and maintaining superior quality, complemented by an exceptional store ambiance and layouts.

We envision becoming the go-to store for shoppers from Zambia, Botswana, and South Africa, attracting them to Zimbabwe for our unmatched quality. Positive feedback from South African customers, acknowledging the superior quality we provide, is a testament to our progress. We intend to build on this momentum to establish ourselves as a major player in the region.

Furthermore, our third objective is to emerge as the largest manufacturer of clothes, yarn, and fabric in the country. To achieve this, we plan to embark on an ambitious backward integration strategy, acquiring equipment for fabric manufacturing and establishing capabilities for yarn production. Leveraging the country’s high-quality cotton, sought after globally in China and the UK, we aim to produce yarn and fabric domestically. Our vision involves controlling the entire supply chain on a large scale, ensuring the dyeing of fabric and the production of high-quality garments. Ultimately, we aspire to become a prominent organization listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. That is the scope of our ambition.

What inspires you, and what drives your actions? What is your life philosophy?

My philosophy revolves around maintaining a standard of excellence in everything I do. In the business realm, I firmly believe that to succeed financially, one must provide the highest quality product, whether it is goods or services. Leading a fashion business, my commitment is to offer customers the pinnacle of quality, ensuring they have the best possible shopping experience. This dedication to a standard of excellence is rooted in creating genuine value for the customer. It is not just about making a sale when a customer walks into the store; it is about crafting an experience that adds significant value to their lives.

Furthermore, I believe in the growth of our business and its associated downstream activities, contributing to the national fiscal landscape. The more positive impact we make on Zimbabwe, the greater the likelihood that our business will thrive. Our growth is intertwined with the growth of those who support us, creating a symbiotic relationship that benefits all involved.


This material (including media content) may not be published, broadcasted, rewritten, or redistributed. However, linking directly to the page (including the source, i.e. is permitted and encouraged.

Scroll to top