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The demise of Bernie Brookes – again!

BernieBrookes2The performance of Bernie Brookes at Edcon has been underwhelming to say the least.

In the year to March 25 2017, Edcon’s group sales decreased 6.7 per cent to R25bn. Sales at comparable stores fell 6.7 per cent.

Within the discount division, sales decreased 6.3 per cent to R8.9bn, while comparable store sales decreased 5.7 per cent.

The specialty division reported retail sales of R5.5bn, 6 per cent less than the previous year,

Cash sales fell by 2.4 per cent while credit sales fell by 13 per cent.

EBITDA has declined by a massive 45 per cent.

Edcon has had enough and Brookes will not have his contract renewed.

The former Myer CEO joined Edcon in July 2015 after stepping down following nine years at the helm and a series of disappointing sales and earnings results. Two weeks after he stepped down, the new CEO, Richard Umbers, announced a 23 per cent fall in first half profit.

Former Massmart executive, Grant Pattison, will replace Brookes in February 2018.

Brookes’s background is mainly groceries having worked at Woolworths Australia.

Yet again, Edcon has appointed a grocery man who has no experience in fashion and apparel.

During his tenure, Brookes surrounded himself with new and weak directors.

Of the 12 people who were reporting to Brookes when he joined Edcon, there are four remaining. The new directors were described as unimpressive and Sasfin analyst, Alec Abraham, commented at the time that it looked as if Brookes did not want to be challenged.

The fate of Marianne Jones, who is very close to Brookes, remains vague,

Brookes’ return to Australia, tail between legs, seems inevitable.

Ironically the 57-year-old seems oblivious to his diabolical performance and is quoted as stating, “If I was younger, I would stay for another three to five years.”


Stuart Bennie is a retail consultant at Impact Retailing and can be contacted at or 0414 631 702

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