The China-based ultra low-cost fast fashion retailer might have a growing market in South Africa, but it's putting the squeeze on local retailers.
The fashion industry is the world's second-biggest polluter and fast fashion is at the very heart of the problem, with ultra-low-cost, cross-border retailers accused of human rights violations, environmental degradation, social problems and waste, because returned products are not recycled or resold - they're destroyed.
These international e-commerce giants are also starting to eat South African clothing retailers' lunch, even if they won't admit it publicly.
Last week, Takealot's Superbalist announced it had commenced a Section 189 process, to restructure its business. Days earlier, Takealot - clearly twitchy about global behemoth Amazon's pending arrival - announced it was trialling an on-demand service, which offers customers in Durbanville, Parow and surrounds in northern Cape Town a selection of about 500 products, which will be delivered within the hour.
The Naspers-owned Takealot Group - comprising Takealot.com, Mr D and Superbalist, is under pressure. Not only is it yet to post a profit since its launch in 2011, but on 27 June this year, the group reported a $22-million (then R407-million) loss - more than three times higher than the previous year.
Superbalist, meanwhile, denies that its retrenchment process has anything to do with a loss of market...