South Africa's Foschini Group buys Britain's Whistles

South African fashion retailer The Foschini Group said on Thusday it had acquired all the shares in British high street chain Whistles for an undisclosed sum.

Foschini, which last year bought British clothing, footwear and accessories retailer Phase Eight, said in a statement it has acquired Whistles’ 46 stores and online retail business through its British unit.

South African fashion retailers have been hunting for takeovers abroad as a weakening rand gnaws away at the profits they make from imported clothing. Woolworths bought Australian department store David Jones two years ago and Truworths acquired an 89% stake in footwear seller Office Retail Group last year.

Whistles also stocks its wares at department stores such as Harrods and Bloomingdales, and in 2014 started a menswear line.

The South African group will use Whistles along with Phase Eight as a platform to grow its business in the northern hemisphere, Foschini’s chief financial officer, Anthony Thunstrom, told Reuters.

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