Steinhoff International (SI) is a South African integrated retailer manufacturing, sourcing and retailing furniture, household goods and clothing in Europe, Africa and Australasia.
Image: company site
SI owns multiple brands, majority of which have been acquired. Recently, in 2011, SI bought Europe’s 2nd largest home furnishings retailer, Conforama.
The history of SI goes back to 1964 when Bruno Ewald Steinhoff established a business of sourcing furniture from Eastern Europe and selling it in Western Europe. Between 1994 and 1996, Steinhoff Europe along with Gommagomma Holdings Ltd established in Steinhoff Furniture. In 1997, Steinhoff acquired 35% interest in Gommagomma Holdings and merging its holdings in Victoria Lewis and Iqbal Bam Group, led to the establishment of Steinhoff Africa. In 1998, Steinhoff subsidiaries in Germany, Europe and Africa were consolidated to Steinhoff International and on 23rd September 1998, it got listed on the JSE. Thereafter SI expanded its businesses to its present state.
There are 3 divisions of the group:
• International Operations: Handles manufacturing, sourcing and logistics of business serving external and own retail customers in Europe & Australasia.
• African Retail Operations: 86% shareholding in JD Group which functions in Southern Africa, primarily focussing in the mass market with a secondary focus in top-end markets.
• Retail Properties: This division handles the assets it owns and functions from. It also handles lease liabilities and escalations for the assets SI is leasing.
The strategy of SI is geared around the 3 arms of its business:
• Retail: The objective is revenue growth and increase in market share by investing in store infrastructure, e-commerce supporting infrastructure
• Manufacturing, sourcing and logistics: SI plans to enhance efficiencies and increase a margins by vertical integration of its supply chain and leveraging its capabilities in this domain.
• Properties: Improving margins and increasing efficiency is the objective SI envisages to achieve by restricting costs and investing in properties