Game re-enters budget clothing market after 15 years

South African general merchandise retailer Game re-entered the clothing market on Friday after 15 years with the launch of a new range in 22 stores in hopes of boosting its profit and margins as part of a turnaround plan.

Game, owned by retailer Massmart, has been a drag on group profit as financially constrained customers prioritise spending on non-durables, such as food, over bigger-ticket items like appliances.

Still, Game’s fresh and frozen food category was underperforming, prompting Chief Executive Mitch Slape, who has said the business’s proposition was muddled, to move to replace it with a budget clothing range, dubbed Stylessentials.

“We are expecting a positive result in terms of our revenue streams from Stylessentials in the next year, as the range replaces our fresh and frozen offering,” Neville Hatfield, Game vice president of merchandise, said.

The clothing range will be available in all 122 stores across South Africa by July 2021.

Game Vice President Andrew Stein said the retailer had identified a gap in the market for seasonally relevant casual wear “that is designed with the South African consumer in mind” and has taken market trends into account.

The retailer’s launch of casual discount wear comes at a time when athleisure, t-shirts and sweat pants are the new best sellers across retailers, while suits, ties and formal dresses gather dust as the coronavirus forces people to work from home.

It also stands to benefit the retailer as consumers are cash-strapped and more price-conscious in the current environment.