Trade Tatler
“Buying the right computer and getting it to work properly is no more complicated than building a nuclear reactor from wristwatch parts in a darkened room using only your teeth.”
Dave Barry



THIS ISSUE:     22 Oct - 27 Oct

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Pick n Pay  Where the lion shops

Back home, Pick n Pay is centralising its buying structure and bedding down its DC and getting its SAP up to speed and spending loads of dosh on something called transformation, but not that transformation, and trying not to retrench 10% of the workforce at the cost of R250 bar, but you knew all of that. So it’s off to Zimbabwe we go, where the Big Blue is fixing to spend a passel of dollars on upping its investment in TM Supermarkets, buoyed no doubt by reports of Uncle Bob’s imminent demise on the Wikileaks. And also by the Zim government giving PnP permission to up its stake in TM from 25% to 49%, to the tune of $21 large (US). Part of this windfall will be spent on POS technology, the absence of which in all but 6 of its 53 stores has led TM to lag OK and SPAR.
Comment: To paraphrase Don Rumsfeld: everyone wants to go to Lusaka. Real retailers want to go to Harare. 16/10/11, Business Day 20/10/11

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Shoprite  School’s out!

How many hours does Shoprite spend on training and development every year. Anyone? A mill… a mill… you at the back? Yes a million, well done. And of the people it devotes this time to, what percentage were previously? Anyone? Disadvantaged! Anyone? 95 per…? Per…? Anyone? Cent! This year, for instance, Shoprite’s Retail Management Development programme will train over 1,300 learners, around 1,200 of whom were previously unemployed. And of these, the more talented ones will be fast tracked into a curriculum which will feed them into the Group’s succession pipeline. In addition to the retail leadership qualification, the group also offers learnerships for meat technicians, bakers, truck drivers and even chartered accountants.
Comment: Any questions? 24/10/11

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KWV  Make mine a double

Good lord is that the time? In that case, don’t mind if I do old boy. Make mine an Appletini, out the box. Previously troubled wine and spirits house KWV is bringing to a market which is strapped for the readies but nevertheless thirsty for something with a touch of class come sundown, South Africa’s first locally-produced range of fruit-based Ready to Serve (RTS, obviously) cocktails, which will come in three different flavours in a two litre box. Or rather, separate 2 litre boxes. RTS, also known as FAB (for Flavoured Alcoholic Beverage, in an industry which is crying out for acronyms) is currently a booming segment with our friends and colleagues over at Nielsen reporting growth of 358% in the six months since October 2010. As such, it presents a wonderful turnaround opportunity for the boys down at the Koöperatieve Wijnbouwers Vereniging (KWV).
Comment: We used to drink Kiwifruit Esprit and listen to Petit Cheval down at the Student’s Union back in the day. These RTS FABs aren’t exactly “cutting edge” you know.

BizCommunity 20/10/11

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Nestlé  Hot chocolate

Two bits of Nestlé news this week. Firstly, the full-year sales forecast is up after their nine-month revenue rose more briskly – to the tune of 7.3% – than it has in three long years, helped by increasing prices in “soluble coffee” and increased volume in Asia. This growth consisted of a 4.1% increase in volumes and a 3.2% increase in prices, but, warns the Swiss Food Giant (SFG), things are not particularly rosy in developed markets, where consumer sentiment is on the decline, and this is going to make it tricky to improve margins in the year ahead. Secondly, the SFG is launching a brand of luxury chocolates, designed to match individual preference, which discerning punters will order online, presumably off their iPads.
Comment: Premium chocolate, we are told, being an affordable, recession-busting luxury.

Business Report 21/10/11, The Times 21/10/11

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27 October 2011 (05:13:41 PM)
Consumer sentiment on the decline? Keep on increasing your prices and price yourself out of the market. Gone are the days of IGNORANT consumers.

Sovereign Foods  Synapping it up

Watch carefully, this gets a bit tricky. But it appears that rival Country Bird may be taking a more than passing interest in the struggling PE-based poultry producer Sovereign Foods. In September, you see, Synapp International, registered in the British Virgin Islands, snapped up 1.5million-odd shares in Sovereign, representing around 1.9% of the equity, and Synapp, as you had by now no doubt twigged, is the controlling shareholder at Country Bird Holdings, with 63% of the stock. And in 2009, you will recall, CBH made a hostile attempt at gaining control of Sovereign. Sovereign shares have fallen to 400c per on the JSE, and that is the level at which Synapp seems eager to buy.
Comment: So watch this space, kiddywinkses. Especially you, Rainbow.

Financial Mail 21/10/11

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Inflation  Wheat’s happening

Inflation is flirting dangerously with the Reserve Bank’s targeted 3-6% band, settling uneasily on 5.7% for the month of September after reaching 5.3% in August. Higher food prices were the main driver of this, although exhorbitant Eskom bills will also have played their part. It does seem, though, that Mrs Doubtfire is not quite as obsessed with inflation targeting as her predecessor, so there is still some talk, would you believe, of a rate cut in November, although this seems less likely now that the numbers are in. The good news, if you’re an embattled consumer, is that things could be worse: a bumper wheat crop means that globally, prices are falling and warehouses bulging, a happy state of affairs which, we are told, is likely to continue through 2012.
Comment: We’re increasingly inclined to treat inflation like an act of God and be done with it.

Business Live 21/10/11

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Tetrapak  We’re calling it “The Slurpinator”

The white coated boffs in the Tetrapak Lab have cooked up something truly fiendish this time. Tetra Brik Aseptic 1000, which comes fully-specced with the LightCap 30 screwcap and an excitingly slopy roof, offers large-volume producers competitive costs for long-shelf-life beverages such as milks, juices, nectars and wines. It’s currently available with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) packaging material and will come with green polyethylene closures in 2012.

Drinks Business Review 21/10/11

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International Trade  Rough trade

Trade between SA, India and Brazil is up despite the recesssion, we are informed by wispily-bearded apparatchik Rob Davies, our Minister of Trade and Industry. Thanks for that Rob. This might explain the profusion of cheap candies and instant Vindaloo sachets we have been seeing on the gondola ends at the supermarket just round the corner, which despite not being Walmart, manages to import a heck of a lot of stuff from everywhere else.

Business Live 19/10/11

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27 October 2011 (05:18:43 PM)
One way traffic (IN)