Press Releases & Interviews

Edcon to pilot innovative Fifty Fifty Enterprise Development Programme

21 September 2006

A new Jet store opens in Thabazimbi in the Limpopo Province this week which will accommodate employee ownership and forms part of Edcon's transformation programme, according to Mpho Makwana, Group Transformation Executive.                                         

Two Fifty Fifty stores will be opened in 2006 as a part of a pilot which will inform the long term strategy and roll-out of Edcon's visionary Store Manager 'Fifty Fifty' Project.

The Thabazimbi opening this week and a similar venture in Atteridgeville at the end of November demonstrate the company's ongoing commitment to transfer skills and economic opportunities to black entrepreneurial employees to enhance their participation in the South African economy, he explained. 

The Fifty Fifty project will enable Jet Store Manager Partners over time to acquire a 50.1% ownership stake in the store concerned, with Edcon holding the balance of 49.9%. Profits accrue to an accumulation account and at the end of a designated time period - between three and five years - the store manager will be able to use those profits to acquire his or her stake, calculated on a Net Asset Value price at the time of the sale.

"This initiative is another important step towards the realisation of Edcon's vision to become a meaningful BBBEE contributor. Fifty Fifty forms part of our programmes around Enterprise Development," said Makwana. "In addition to our staff empowerment share scheme, iShare Yethu, we recognized the need for a scaleable, sustainable enterprise development concept and developed Fifty Fifty." During the course of the year Fifty Fifty is piloted, key executives from the Discount Division and Group Services will provide both support and skills transfer to ensure operational success. The project includes a comprehensive transitional plan to assist Store Manager Partners with all aspects of retail operations and contains a system of checks and balances designed to maximise the potential success of the venture for both parties.
Discount Division CE Assie Boshoff said: "We will have operational personnel in the store every week and each quarter the management accounts will be reviewed and discussed. In addition, our Store Manager Partners will receive the same distribution, credit, IT and HR support as is afforded to other Edcon outlets. HR support will cover recruitment, remuneration and benefits, employee relations, management, learning and development to attract the talent they need to run a successful business. Edcon will also provide Fifty Fifty with its world-class integrated IT technology providing up-to-date merchandise, financial and management information."
"We have great confidence in the first store manager chosen, Patrick Matiwane, and his new team to make our first Enterprise Development scheme the success we envision."

Boshoff said while the pilot will be contained for now to two stores, it had been mandated that future Fifty Fifty stores could be set up and owned by approved applicants. Julia Kgamane will be partnering with Jet to open a second store later in the year.
The manager of Jet Thabazimbi, Patrick Matiwane, was previously a top-performing store manager at Jet Kenilworth in Cape Town. He has seven years of retail management experience. Matiwane was chosen from 38 internal Edcon applicants, all of whom were subjected to a rigorous selection process.

"The Edcon approach has always been to empower a broad base of its employees and I am very grateful to be chosen to pioneer this idea to build a sustainable future for my colleagues," said Matiwane.

Jet Thabazimbi will initially employ eight people, four permanent and four permanent part-timers, all from in and around the area. A percentage of the store's profits, in the course of time, will be donated to local Thabazimbi community development initiatives as part of Jet's corporate social responsibility programme.                                        

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