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CLOTHING retail chain Edgars Stores says the rapid increase in unregulated commerce in the country is hurting its operations as it is made to compete with businesses that do not pay tax.

Edgars — a local unit of South Africa’s Edcon — is caught up in a vicious price war with the informal sector, which sources most of its used apparel from China, South Africa, Botswana and Tanzania.

The group’s managing director, Linda Masterson, said there was a need for Government to control importation of cheap used clothing into the country.

“It [importation of second-hand clothing] is really a very big problem. Obviously, that comes back to corruption in our country that we have got these second-hand clothes that are on our streets,” Masterson said.

“It means businesses like ourselves that pay tax are being marginalised and pushed aside by the businesses that do not pay tax.

Zimbabwe banned the importation of used clothes from September 1, 2015 but Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr Mike Bimha, said in January this year that the ban was unenforceable because the local industry had no capacity to meet demand.

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