Phase eight owner TFG is poised to join the UK retail consolidation.

Chief executive Anthony Thunstrm declined to comment on reports that the owner of UK brands such as Phase Eight and Hobbs is closing in on a rescue deal with Joules, but has expressed an interest in being part of the retail consolidation that will take place in the UK.

“Unfortunately, we are unable to comment on any potential M&A speculation,” Thunstrm told reporters at Joules.

“Having said that, our view is that there are a number of UK-based brands that I think if you look at the next two months, particularly after the end of December, will be available for sale or will be in financial difficulties.”

Joules became the latest retailer to collapse in Britain after its finances, profitability and cash generation came under pressure amid a cost-of-living crisis that squeezed consumer spending.

Earlier this month, the online furniture retailer was put into receivership. The retailer Next Plc ended up buying the brand.

Thunstrm said that if the cost of living crisis continues, “you will find that there will be a lot of interesting brands available. The reality is that they (the TFG London company) see an opportunity in the UK and they want to grow.”

TFG, which owns clothing brands Foschini and Markham in South Africa, would be interested in brands that play across all income levels, Thunstrm said.

He gave an overview of Black Friday weekend deals, saying “it was good” and saw strong demand for all his brands, with consumers saving more and more, even on expensive items. .

FirstRand’s First National Bank said on Monday its customers bought more than 3 billion rand ($177.15 million), the highest Black Friday spending reported by the bank over the past four years.

($1 = R16.9348)

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