Hilton Weiner Stores, Factory Shops and Offers
Hilton Weiner is a premium South African fashion store that specializes in sophisticated suits, blazers, shirts, trousers and shoes. If you are looking for an exclusive style for a cocktail party, awards show, red carpet event or other important function where high profile guests are expected and where smart attire is required, you will find the right attire at Hilton Weiner.
The store was opened in 1986, and today there are at least 13 stores and factory shops in South Africa. People who frequent the store include travellers, celebrities, dignitaries, businessmen and women in search of high quality fashion for special occasions.
The company was one of the subsidiaries belonging to the Platinum Group. Due to an increasing number of competitors in the South African clothing industry, Hilton Weiner closed down all its stores in 2015. The retail store couldn’t make enough profit as demand gradually fell. International fashion stores which capitalized on their brand and capital were taking over the local industry with trending styles and competitively priced items.
At the time of the store’s closure, the group under which Hilton Weiner falls, Platinum Group – was making about 400 million Rands a year. This may look like a lot of money, but it couldn’t cover the operational costs and overheads. As a result, the company stopped buying more stock, in preparation for closure.
The company had retail stores in Johannesburg, Cape Town and other cities. These were shut down three months in advance, resulting in lease agreements expiring without renewal. Property owners in lease agreements with the Platinum Group filed a lawsuit in the courts, demanding payment of rental arrears, as well as compensation for breach of contract.
In one case, the Platinum Group owed R7.5 million in rental arrears to the Hemingways Mall.
European and US-based fashion stores such as Cotton-On, Country Road and Zara are believed to have pushed the Platinum Group out of business, due to their competitive and innovative edge. Analysts blamed Hilton Weiner for failing to keep with trends in the international market. It seems South African fashion shoppers are always ahead when it comes to international trends, and Hilton Weiner was behind.
The lessons learnt from the closure of HW is that you must not always assume that local clients are old fashioned. In this age of the smartphone and social media, residents of developing countries such as South Africa are internet savvy. They have daily exposure to international brands on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google. This means that they expect the styles trending on international platforms to be available in South African stores.
The traditional scenario in South Africa and the rest of the African continent, is that items newly released in the USA and Europe, often hit the local stores at least 10 months later. A competitive fashion store would produce its own versions to keep ahead of the pack.