Excelling in the retail space anywhere in the world takes a special vision and understanding of this environment. Dr. Dirk Prinsloo, MD of Urban Studies, maintains that, “Retail remains the most dynamic urban market with changes almost on a daily basis.”
The well-known South African brand, Khaliques, has a 45-year retail track record. To ride out this fast-evolving market would require a mix of qualities and business approaches. When Ismail Moosa opened the Khaliques Suit Centre in the Oriental Plaza it had not been on a whim.
Establishing the brand Before the birth of Khaliques, Ismail Moosa had established a successful baby and toddler apparel shop in Pretoria. But the Group Areas Act put a stop to free trading for this visionary tradesman. He had to take his business to the Oriental Plaza in Johannesburg.
Ismail had always been keen on dressing the businessman and he had good connections in the textile and manufacturing space. This was his opportunity - getting the Khaliques Suit Centre going in 1974. Currently known as Khaliques.
He set a high standard for his son Khalik and grandsons Mohammed Faeez and Ismail junior, who continued the business approach: “Know your customer, provide them with quality and value for money and they’ll come back - time and again.”
Extending the brand Over the years the Khaliques footprint spread strategically further north, seeking a presence in ideally located malls and centres. First settling in at the Village Walk Centre, Sandton. When this centre was demolished in 2011, Khaliques Sandton found a home in Laico Isle.
The journey north was taking the brand to an extended audience. In 2007 Khaliques opened store in Cedar Square, Fourways. Then followed the Mall of Africa, Midrand in 2016.
All these outlets were set up in style, with a modern look-and-feel, in line with the clientele profile that had been attracted to the brand over time. Each outlet, honouring the Kahliques promise, “For the businessman who knows what he wants”.
Careful store design is a signature of the brand, creating a welcoming atmosphere for the serious, yet fashion-conscious businessman. Each outlet showcases the variety of apparel and accessories in tasteful displays, showing off uncompromising style and excellence.
Looking beyond the brand Keeping in touch with evolving retail trends Khaliques also spawned other ventures in an effort to address a younger audience. Jones & Kent of London stores were established in selected Gauteng malls. The first one in Rosebank Mall, followed by ones in Menlyn Park and Brooklyn Mall, Pretoria. Finally the Mall of Africa was also treated to this brand.
The vision with the Jones & Kent of London offering was to provide the younger businessman with a stylish fashion-orientated wardrobe and accessories selection, relatively at entry level. This is in line with findings by Dr. Prinsloo that modern-day youth have considerable spending power.
A strong business focus still follows family values set by Ismail senior almost half a century ago, “hard work, extremely good service and an understanding of customer needs”. On top of this, customers are promised value for money, variety, quality and personalised service.
The service offer Each Khaliques store provides a personal touch to the discerning businessman or first-time suit seeker. And then, the ultimate spoil - tailored suit selections to satisfy the most fastidious man ‘who knows what he wants’.
The tailor service is a big deal. Each store has its own team of tailors to ensure quick turn-around solutions, confirming the personalised service promise.
Marketing strategy Marc Vogelzang at Brand Genetics has been involved with the brand for the past 20 years. He believes the success of the brand is maintained through the consistency of their message and building trust among the audience.
To this end radio and the business press have been successful partners in growing the brand. Marketing is focused on the Gauteng consumer. Selective promotions are also run in neighbouring countries around holiday seasons when there would be an influx to Gauteng.
Over the years there has been an added focus to cater for special events. The mother who takes her matric son for a visit to Khaliques for that first suit. A suit that eventually serves as the dress code of choice for a first job interview on the young man’s career journey.
Weddings also provide a steady stream of men coming through the doors in batches of grooms and groomsmen to get suited and apparelled from head to toe for the big day.
This South African icon has stood the test of time by staying in touch with new trends in the retail environment. And at the core of growth and excellence is their support of local textile suppliers as part of Khaliques’ social responsibility.