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:     16 Feb - 22 Feb

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SPAR  Arriba!

It always pleases us to lead with a story about SPAR, the Quiet Man of SA retail, although this time around the story is global. The cheerfully verdant retailer has announced that it anticipates turnover for the soon-to-be-deceased FY 2011 – ie, somewhat confusingly the one that has just gone – to be around $72million, 14% up on the haul from the year 10. Contributing substantially to the number are subsidiaries opened recently in Mexico and Turkey as well as solid incremental growth in the more established markets. And good news for the FY we’re going into is that SPAR has what it calls a “steady pipeline” of new contracts, which presumably means lots of franchisees champing at the bit to don their green stripy shirts and open shop all over the show, starting in the first quarter. Locally, SPAR has mentioned that turnover is likely to be up 13.5% to R10.9 billion.
Comment: That’s the way to do it. 05/02/12

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Shoprite  Sue, Grabbit, Runne and Mwanabo

A few months back we reported vaguely on some skullduggery in Zambia involving Shoprite shares. Turns out it is rather a serious matter, with The Big Red One laying charges of fraud, theft and maybe even money laundering against Lewis Nathan Advocates and its partners, over the alleged sale of Shoprite treasury shares outside its mandate and the subsequent pocketing of the proceeds, a not to be sniffed at R70million. You see, during Shoprite’s IPO in Zambia, only 479,000 shares were taken up – but Nathan’s apparently subsequently sold another 1.9million of them without forking out the cash to Shoprite. And there’s more: Nathan’s are under investigation by drug enforcement over the possible use of the transaction in the laundering of money – but, as Shoprite has pointed out, not drug money.
Comment: A little thickening with your plot sir? Coming right up.

Moneyweb 14/02/12

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Woolworths  Well done, chaps – let’s pop a bottle of ginger beer … on second thoughts, let’s not ...

Can’t remember if we mentioned this, but sales over at The Dapper One were up 11% to R14.2 billion for the first half of the financial year, with food up 12% and clothing and GM up 10%, as you would know if you had idly trolled through your SENS announcements last week. Net income, which strikes us as an oblique way of saying operating profit, correct us if we’re wrong, hit the R1.03 beellion mark in the six months to Boxing Day, a monstrous 33% up from R775 million just a year ago. 2012 is going to be a biggie for The Dapper One: they open their first of ten full line supermarkets on the 26th of April on William Nicol, in order to alleviate the “heartbreak” CEO Ian Moir describes at watching competitors sell trolley loads while he flogs tasteful black basketsful.
Comment: With the arrival of Mr Moir – and the Frankie’s debacle aside – we detect a slightly more streetwise vibe at Woolies, in keeping with the demands of the, shall we say, robust competitive environment.

Bloomberg 16/02/12

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22 February 2012 (04:23:22 PM)
So the trend of retailers opening smaller convenient stores is turned on its head. Can't wait for the WW super!


Rainbow Chicken  The funky chicken

Rainbow’s interims were out yesterday, and revenue was up 14.7% to R3.9 billion YOY. But before you get too excited, this was because their new FY meant the inclusion of the busy last three months of the year, so a December/September comparison. Like all poultry producers they’ve been hit hard by the double whammy of high maize costs and a weak rand, and again like the competition, the period began with a winter of discontent when the punters just weren’t biting like they normally do. Nevertheless, mainly through operational efficiencies Rainbow managed to deliver a very respectable margin of 6.2%. And their drive to innovate in respect of added value goodies continues to reward them, with some of their Simply Chicken products and chilled processed meats growing 30% by volume in the period.
Comment: Poultry, eh. A hard calling. Out riding the fenceline in the pre-dawn chill. The mad, dusty confusion of the stampede. The rustlers, always out there, always watching. The mavericks, in coop and boardroom alike. The … oh, shut up.

SENS 21/02/12

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Kellogg  Simply irresistible (cue cheeky little slap on the hand)

Kellogg Co. (when did they become singular? And by jove it’s an odd looking word whether it ends in an “s” or not) have snaffled the last few Pringles in the bottom of the tube, the swine. No they haven’t – they’ve gone and bought the entire business, having it off Proctor & Gamble for USD$2.7billion, or a PE of 11, which is what we call generous – businesses in the perfectly regular, alluringly curved crispy snack sector usually go for around 7 or so, in our experience. Kellogg believe it’s a good price for a business they describe as “irresistible” though, and were happy to spend it, hell-bent as they are on building a global snacking business which currently includes such staples of the soiree and lunch box alike as Cheez-It, Townhouse crackers and Keebler. Pringles’ strength in emerging markets was apparently also a big drawcard.
Comment: Whatever happened to those bass-playing girls in the Robert Palmer video, eh?

Bloomberg 21/02/12

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Distell  Wild thing!

Nice work from Distell, which saw revenue grow 16% to R7.98billions for the six months to December, on the back of volume growth to the tune of 10.2% and operating profit up 22.4% to R1.16 billion. Star performers in the stable were Hunter’s, Three Ships Whiskey and Amarula, a liqueur made from elephants. Or by elephants. Or near elephants, we’re never entirely sure. Anyway, it gets consumed near elephants, and honeymooning couples, after the crème brûlée, and sometimes in the crème brûlée, at every last safari lodge in the Waterberg … where were we? Ah, yes. International sales, including Africa, were also pleasing, and boosted on the revenue front by a weak rand which offset the rising input costs everybody’s moaning about these days.
Comment: We at the Tatler, for instance, have had to drop our font size to 10.5 just to keep the margin up, and what our mother doesn’t have to say about that.

IOL 15/02/12

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Retail Sales  And millinery? Nobody said anything about millinery.

Retail sales, you will be pleased to know, were up 7.9% YOY in quarter four of 2011, up more vertiginously by 8.7% for the month of December and up more horizontally by 1.3% from November. After a less than inspiring year, this is being hailed in some quarters as if it were the second coming of the consumer boom of the early noughts, rather than the result of a fairly OK Christmas, with some commentators breathlessly, and rather tautologically suggesting that it might have a good effect on GDP growth. In some areas, though, it is pretty good news – for example wholesale, which lifted sales 6.1% in December after slowing to 5.7% in November. Those quaintly-named “retailers in textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods” (John Orr’s? Greenacres?) were the star performers at somewhere north of 11%, well done, gentlemen. Have yourselves a cream bun in the tea-room upstairs.
Comment: Good news, one supposes, although breathless excitement at a marginal increase in consumer spending when we are sitting on monstrous deposits of uranium and platinum to name but two of the strategic minerals in which we are so richly blessed does make one wonder a bit who is running things.

Tatler Reporter 21/02/12

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Pick n Pay  The Idle Speculation Department

The dust has barely settled on outgoing (by one definition) Pick n Pay CEO Nick Badminton’s desk, and rumour, hypothesis and innuendo run rampant. He was pushed, says one analyst, in order to accommodate a Foreign Buyer with their own candidate for the position. He jumped, says SACCAWU in a proletarian statement, and we pushed him, or something. He was tired, maintains Chairman Ackerman the Younger, who’s sounding a bit tired himself, of saying it, and we’re still not letting go of the pyramid structure, so there.

Tatler Reporter 21/02/12

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Pick n Pay  The Press Announcement Department

Oh, and by the way, The Big Blue have gone and got themselves a Retail Specialist, in the form of one Rod Salmon, who has most recently been working, if that’s the word, as a retail analyst in the UK, but who locals might remember as a onetime commercial director over at Massmart. He will be reporting to, or more correctly reporting into the big merchandise guns, Messr’s Hoerz and Arnold of recent Tatler fame, and ...yes, you at the back? No, Jones, he will not be taking over as CEO. See me afterwards.

BizCommunity 17/02/12

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Africa  And this, we imagine, is a good thing

South Africa’s rate of investment in Africa is increasing at four times the rate of foreign direct investment in our own economy, which is indeed a good thing at a time when trade flows into Europe have been as badly punished by the general mismanagement of the Eurozone, tsk, tsk. Mauritius, which is just barely African, is the biggest investment destination, followed by Mozambique, Angola and Zimbabwe.

The New Age 20/02/12

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