Steinhoff's JD Group Plans Store Closures to Stabilize Finances

  • Store closures may impact 1,800 employees, company says
  • Trade union says 4,110 workers likely to be affected

South African furniture retailer JD Group Ltd. plans to close about 260 stores employing thousands of workers as it seeks to stabilize its finances.

About 1,800 employees will be affected, according to the company, although a trade union put the figure at 4,110. The closings are key to securing the employment of JD Group’s remaining employees, the operator of Barnetts and Bradlows stores said Monday.

JD has accelerated restructuring plans since Steinhoff International Holdings NV gained full control of the company last year and delisted the stock. Steinhoff Chief Executive Officer Marcus Jooste said in August that he planned to raise JD’s cash sales to more than half of the total over the next 18 months in an effort to cut the risk of credit customers defaulting on payments.

News of the store closures came at the same time that Steinhoff made a $2 billion offer for Britain’s Home Retail Group Plc.

The South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union was served with a consultation notice related to proposed retrenchments on Thursday, it said by e-mail.

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