South African retailer The Foschini Group (TFG) has announced its plans to invest $35m in technology, over the next three to five years, to adapt to changing retail trends.

This investment comes at a time when online shopping continues to challenge the offline retail space. TFG CEO Anthony Thunström told Reuters that the technology investments are being made in order to keep pace with latest trends required by fast fashion.

The last ten years has seen TFG investing heavily in technology. It began introducing radio-frequency identification technology to improve its track of inventory and to identify how many paying customers visiting its stores.

“Against a backdrop of tough trading conditions and in an environment where the retail sector is facing significant disruption.”

For online shopping, the retailer plans to boost stock availability by enabling the use of apparel from offline outlets.

Foschini Group, in the full-year ended March, saw a 19.6% rise in annual retail sales to ZAR34.1bn due to acquisitions and turnover growth across all its operations. Its online sales increased by 57.2%, contributing to 8.8% of the group’s turnover.

TFG Africa, which contributes to 64% of group revenue, had comparable turnover growth of 5.6% as a result of Black Friday and December sales. TFG Australia saw 7.8% comparable growth and sales in London increased by 31.3%.

Thunström said: “Against a backdrop of tough trading conditions and in an environment where the retail sector is facing significant disruption, all three business segments produced strong turnover growth in relation to their respective markets.”

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