The Foschini Group acquires Flat Circle team to sharpen digital offerings

SOUTH AFRICA – TFG Labs, the new technology arm of local retail chain The Foschini Group (TFG), has completed the talent acquisition of the Flat Circle team, a specialist mobile app development agency based in Cape Town.

Launched in 2021, TFG Labs has the mandate to attract the continent’s best tech talent, as the retailer invests significantly in technical capabilities to accelerate its digital strategy.

The tech division aims to attract tech talent to develop software and solutions that will redefine the customer shopping experience and reshape TFG’s omnichannel capabilities, said the group.

According to a press statement, the new talent acquisition brings the whole Flat Circle team into Labs, to immediately re-enforce the development of TFG’s upcoming new digital platform and architecture.

With 31 retail brands under its ownership, trading in fashion, jewelry, accessories, sporting apparel, cellular, homeware and furniture, TFG bills itself as one of South Africa’s largest retail groups.

“We’re really excited to welcome Werner Erasmus and Niekie Deetlefs (co-founders) and the entire Flat Circle team into Labs. They’re an experienced, dynamic and motivated team, and align with our ambitions of establishing TFG as the country’s leading high-tech omnichannel retailer,” said Claude Hanan and Luke Jedeikin, TFG co-Chief Omni Officer.

“They’re an experienced, dynamic and motivated team, and align with our ambitions of establishing TFG as the country’s leading high-tech omni-channel retailer,”

Claude Hanan and Luke Jedeikin, TFG co-Chief Omni Officers Tweet

In 2018, the retailer launched what it called South Africa’s first online marketplace to be supported by over 2,600 bricks and mortar stores, to help it reposition its e-commerce strategy.

The marketplace, also available via the app, offers local consumers a one-stop shopping experience across its affiliate brands, such as travel, gifting, toys, books and flowers.

In South Africa, it is estimated that over 70% of all e-commerce revenue is generated via mobile channels, so this acquisition positions the retailer to strongly benefit from a mobile-first digital strategy, said TFG.

In June 2021, the group said its online retail turnover saw strong growth, contributing 12% to its total retail turnover, up from 8.4% a year ago, as more customers took to e-commerce amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Flat Circle has a team of highly-skilled mobile engineers that have been building innovative products for the last eight years,” noted Erasmus and Deetlefs.

“We are really excited to have the opportunity to work at scale with TFG Labs and provide millions of consumers with a superb mobile experience. Having contributed to numerous innovation hubs early in our careers, the Labs division at TFG was a natural fit for us.” 

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