• Truworths has launched a new store concept called Context, which sells LTD and EarthAddict clothes, cosmetics and homeware from Loads of Living.
  • We visited the first store of its kind, which recently opened in the V&A Waterfront.
  • We found an impressive wall of organic South Africa cosmetics.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA

The Truworths group has launched a new luxury store, called Context. It features more upmarket brands – clothes from LTD and EarthAddict, homeware from Loads of Living as well as a large range of cosmetics – are all brought together in a single shop.

Like other clothing retailers, Truworths is taking strain in a difficult economy, with sales of its higher-end fashion brands (Daniel Hechter Ladies, Ginger Mary, Glamour, LTD Ladies and EarthAddict) down by a percent in the half-year to end-December.

That part of the market has grown much more competitive over the past few years, with Cape Union Mart’s Poetry, standalone stores of Woolworths brands Country Road and Witchery, and large international chains like Zara and H&M crowding the field.

Context has been launched to address “changing consumer shopping behaviours”, Truworths says. It focuses on “sophisticated designer ladies fashion”, with a handpicked collection of beauty and homeware.

“No detail [was] spared” in the creation of the stores, a spokesperson told Business Insider SA, with the use of “smooth premium finishes” to create a modern feel.

The first Context store recently opened its doors in the V&A Waterfront, replacing a LTD store. Here’s what we found:

The new Context store in the V&A Waterfont.

Truworths used a “feminine colour palette” for the store, according to a spokesperson, and that’s clear even from the outside.

Inside, the store looks a lot like an updated version of Poetry, with modern touches like illuminated neon branding.

Truworths says the products in the Context stores are hand-picked with “a considered curation of our brands” and the store certainly doesn’t feel overflowing with stock.

A spokesperson says customers will be constantly discovering an “ever-changing product range, that tells a story in a new and interesting way”.

Context does not seem to be competing on price, with the only discounts on offer being a "buy 2 or more and get 30% off the lowest price item" for EarthAddict clothes. This in stark contrast to steep sales at surrounding stores.

Its fitting rooms come with polished wood chunks for seats. 

The store has a large range of cosmetics, similar to the existing Truworths and LTD offering.

But what sets it apart from any other store is the impressive wall of South African organic skincare brands including Skin Creamery, Lulu & Marula, Oh-Lief and Eco Diva, with a copper tap and basin for testers.

More Context stores will open in coming months, Truworths says. 

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