Epping-based clothing and textile conglomerate Seardel has taken its first tentative steps towards building a ‘retail’ element onto its core manufacturing operations with Brand Identity.

Brand ID houses Seardel clothing’s best known brands, and will be looking at developing these brands – centred around the well known Speedo sportsware range as well as Brooksfield and Maidenform – into lifestyle offerings.

To date Seardel’s Brand ID is really functioning as a brands house with no official ‘retail’ component. But in March last year Brand ID started showcasing its portfolio by moving into new premises in Wembley Square in Gardens.

The new office not only pulls together brand specific teams within Seardel under one roof, but also displays brands in showrooms. Commenting on Seardel’s results for the half-year to end September, Seardel CEO Stuart Queen was very encouraged by Brand ID’s recent launch of the 46664 (Nelson Mandela’s prison number during his incarceration on Robben Island) fashion label during the period. He said early indications for the 46664 brand were very positive and that there was scope to go global. “We are investigating launching the brand internationally in due course and are currently evaluating potential partners to assist in specific regions.”

The early promise of the 46664 brand has also prompted Seardel to look at launching an on-line retail store (www.46664 fashion.com) – significantly the group’s first real foray into e-retailing.

While its still early days for Seardel’s brand house/retail venture, one must remember that Rex Trueform, once a well known clothing manufacturer, is now living exclusively off its early nineties endeavours to diversify its core operations with a retail offering (See our story ‘What’s on the shelve for 2012’).

The importance of Seardel’s Brand ID initiative should not be under-estimated with clothing manufacturing operations still trading deep in the red (unlike the now profitable textile division).

In the half-year to end September 2011 the clothing operations showed a R48 million loss from turnover of R467 million. Brand ID, no doubt, will play a key role in the years ahead in generating new income streams that could help reverse those ugly losses.

Source: Cape Business News