Trade Tatler
“Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
Ronald Reagan



THIS ISSUE:     12 Mar - 17 Mar

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Pick n Pay  Forever young

The eager young beavers of the Young President’s Association (YPO) have recognised Pick n Pay’s new chair, Gareth Ackerman, and head of transformation Suzanne Jones... oh, sorry, mistake there, Suzanne Ackerman, with one of their 2010 Corporate Social Responsibility Awards, for Leadership, in recognition of the Group’s may initiatives in this arena. These include broad-based programmes for the assistance of small farmers, various green initiatives, their franchise model which encourages collaboration between communities, retailers and local food suppliers and their programme which pairs retired executives with farmers to the benefit of the latter.
Comment: Well deserved recognition, and nicely timed too as Gareth Ackerman succeeds his father at the helm.

Tatler Reporter 16/03/10

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Retail Shares  Sharing is caring

Punters who have enjoyed a little flutter on retail shares will be clicking their heels and whistling jaunty tunes on the news that their investments have outperformed the index impressively over the past six months. The All Share Index has been trundling along turgidly at 10%, while Woolies shares have shot up 37% since September, and Massmart have gone up by 24%. Clicks, you will be intrigued to know, have positively screeched ahead at 50%. Foreign buyers have been responsible for at least some of the demand, which has also been buoyed by the cautious return to a more supportive shall we say economic environment. On the downside, Pick n Pay has not matched the shares of its competitors, dragged back perhaps by the perception that it is losing market share to retailers which are perceived as cheaper, and by some uncertainty over the future of its Franklin’s operation in Aus.
Comment: But nice that our sector, a yardstick of consumer and business sentiment, is ticking along so handsomely.

Fin 15/03/10

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Woolworths  A little privacy...

Woolies are going Private Label, and here we’re talking the real deal, not pricy gear in Woolies branding, but a value line called Essentials which, according to the Natty One, will bring the best of Woolies’ quality to today’s sharp-eyed punters at a price they can afford. Essentials will cover a range of bases, from dairy to snacks to home and personal care, and will be available in Food markets from round about now. By the end of May, the range will include almost 200 lines. Some of the range will comprise existing products, repackaged, but much of it will be original. Bigger packs and multi-pack offerings will up the value and convenience, and prices will range from parity with competitive retailers to as much as 10% below. The range will also be a first major outing for the blocky new Woolworths branding we’re seeing more and more of these days.
Comment: A shrewd and timely move by a proudly resurgent Woolies.

Tatler Reporter 15/03/10

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Nestlé  Do you have a minute?

And the winner is ... just excuse me while I make supper ... there, done .... Maggi 2-Minute Noodles, by Nestle! The wriggly ones, which have been keeping students skinny for decades, took the Sunday Times Product of the Year Award in its category, ticking several relevant boxes in these still-straitened times – value for money, at around R3.50 a pack, added value, now with extra fibre, and lifestyle enhancement, with four new SA-friendly flavours, including Steak and Chops, and Boerie. Other category winners include Pringle Rice Infusions, marketed here by Foregood, and legendary P&G brand Olay, which you will remember was invented on these shores.
Comment: Kind of a Lifetime Achievement Oscar for a hardworking star we’ve come to take for granted.

The Sunday Times 14/03/10

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AVI  I’ll put the kettle on

A mixed bag of interims from AVI, understandable perhaps for a business which sells everything from Jimmy Choos to biscuits. The Group’s cosmetic (Indigo) and fashion (A&D Spitz) divisions were the top performers, increasing both revenue and margin for the six months to December. Fishing and snacks were less fortunate, the former, in the form of I&J suffering from the strength of the rand somewhat, with operating profits down 52% to R59.87million in that division. Hot beverages were also a winner, lifting operating profit 35.2% to R166.7million. On the biccie front, AVI are looking at the feasibility of opening a 15,000 ton biscuit plant to increase its offering in this crispy, delicious area by half, extending its reach into the lower LSMs.
Comment: The market rewarded AVI’s strong management in challenging times with a 3.5% lift in the share price once these results were posted.

Business Report 09/03/10

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Foodcorp  I’m blue, dah dah dee dah dah daah!

Pamodzi Investment Holdings has sold its 77% stake in Foodcorp for over R500bar to the business’ management, with the backing of swashbuckling international investors, the London-listed Bluebay Asset Management. Management have increased their stake in the company to 51% with the investment of R111.92million, while BlueBay have kicked in R495million for a 44.4% stake. A new company, new Foodcorp Holdings, will own all Foodcorp shares. Foodcorp, of course, bring such beloved brands to the market as Ouma Rusks, Glenryck Pilchards and Blue Ribbon bread. The deal incentivises the management team and ties in their talents for the next phase of the company’s growth.
Comment: A nice vote of confidence in local business from a significant international player.

Business Day 11/03/10

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Consumer Spending  Perhaps we should be spending like there’s no tomorrow...

44% of South African expect to maintain their current levels of spending on discretionary items, say the brilliantined boys at Mastercard, whose Worldwide Survey of Consumer Purchasing Priorities was unveiled this week. On the downside, 38% of us are expecting to drop our spending – although this compares well with 43% six months ago. And 18% of us anticipate that our spending will increase in the next while, whether, one suspects, we want it to or not. Top category for those of us wishing to maintain or increase our consumption would be fashion and accessories at 27%, while dining and entertainment are a close second at 24%. Education at 13% does not fare as well. 42% of us say that we want to save more in the next year than we’re currently managing.
Comment: Which would be nice.

Business Report 09/03/10

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Logistics  Truckin’ on down

According to the 6th State of Logistics™ survey, published by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Imperial Logistics and Stellenbosch University, the value that logistics adds to the South African economy, contributing to the country’s global competitiveness and sustainability should be greater than the costs. This, however, is tricky: at 14.7% of GDP, logistic costs remain too high compared with other countries. In the US, for example, the figure is 9.4%. On the upside, while the survey found that though South Africa saw an increase of 6.9% in logistics costs compared to the previous year’s R317billion, 2008 costs were at their lowest since 2004, totalling R339billion. And on the downside again, it was found that the percentage of bad roads in SA’s secondary road network increased from 8% in 1998 to 20% a decade later.
Comment: A Pandora’s box of challenges, a cornucopia of opportunities. Which to choose...

Tatler Reporter 15/03/10

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Woolworths  Apologia

Last week we incorrectly reported that Paula Disberry would be taking over Supply Chain and IT, with Fawza Essa in Retail Operations over at the Smart One. As our friends at Imperial Logistics kindly pointed out, the true situation looks more like this:
- Clothing and General Merchandising Planning: Paula Disberry
- Supply Chain and Information Technology: Fawza Essa
- Retail Operations: Andrew Levermore

Tatler Reporter 15/03/10

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Coupons  Clip, clip – ching, ching!

Punters who plan their trips, use broadsheets and leaflets to shop and redeem coupons are not cheapskates that give consumers a bad name, they are, according to a survey by German consumer products maker Henkel, your best customers. Henkel has rather niftily named them “Shoptimizers”, and calculated that in the US they spend on average $7,100 per annum more than their more casual counterparts.

FMI Daily Lead 12/03/10

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Private Label  Privacy on the high seas

Private label sales rose at a slower 3.2% pace at retailers in the States for the month of February, according to a Credit Suisse report, although they still account for 20% of food sales by volume. This increase is down from a 4% gain in January and a roughly 6% gain, excluding dairy, last July. At the same time, branded-food unit sales rose 2.4% for the February period compared with a 0.2% drop for the four weeks ended 23 Jan. So: brand on the up, private label slowing, in the US at least. Can we expect some of that here? Too soon to tell maybe.

The Wall Street Journal 05/03/10

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