Four years after Edcon closed Boardmans as part of a cost-cutting programme, the brand has been revived as an online store.
Boardmans started out as a hardware store called Sam Newman’s. In November 1982, Tom Boardman bought two retail outlets in Cape Town.
Pick n Pay became a financial partner in the early nineties and took over the whole Boardmans business and subsequently grew it to 26 stores nationwide.
In 2003, Edcon bought Boardmans from Pick ‘n Pay for R94-million. Former Edcon CEO Steve Ross said the acquisition supported its acquisition strategy in the non-food retail area.
At the time, Boardmans mainly sold kitchenware, furniture, and outdoor goods and had an annual turnover of R211 million.
Fifteen years later, in 2018, former Edcon CEO Grant Pattison revealed a strategy to close Boardmans and launch Edgars Home to fill the gap.
Boardmans stores were shut, and the new Edgars Home division was housed inside the main Edgars store in malls.
Most South Africans kissed Boardmans goodbye and accepted that the brand would fade into oblivion.
However, the new retail group Retailability had other plans. It recently announced that it is bringing Boardmans back as an online store.
Retailability is a Durban-headquartered retailer group which includes South African brands such as Edgars, Legit, Beaver Canoe, Style, and Keedo.
The group has 600 stores in Southern Africa, including Namibia, Botswana, Eswatini, and Lesotho.
Boardmans is now housed in the Retailability stable under the guidance of CEO Norman Drieselmann.
Drieselmann said Edcon owned the Boardmans brand, and it formed part of the Edgars acquisition. “Boardmans resonates with many customers in SA and deserves a relaunch,” he said.
It is aiming Boardmans at “discerning consumers looking for on-trend, value-for-money purchases delivered door-to-door”.
“Our plan in the medium term is to build on the early online successes before we look to launch our brick-and-mortar experience at the appropriate time,” he said.