Trade Tatler
“Urban farming is not only possible, it is crucial.”
Homaro Cantu


THIS ISSUE:     02 Mar - 08 Mar

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Shoprite  Um, thanks but no.

Christo Wiese is rather hopefully touting the idea that, in something which could only be described as a turn up for the books, Shoprite could be interested in buying Steinhoff Retail Africa (STAR), investment home to the jewel in Wiese’s retail crown, Pepkor. Back in the innocent pre-Steingate days, STAR was looking at buying into Shoprite, and Whitey was reportedly having none of it. Now that the shoe appears to be on the other foot, Shoprite boss Pieter Engelbrecht is keeping the Whitey flag flying, and having none of it. "We are trying to focus even more on food retailing than another completely different line of business,” he says, although he does admit that a putative association with STAR would involve the sharing of such amenities as financial services. In the meantime, Shoprite have announced that their Steinhoff-tinged plans for Eastern Europe are now off the table, and that their focus might now be instead on the more promising markets of East Africa.
Comment: Shoprite’s survival of the Steinhoff scandal has been a textbook instance of luck and good judgement.

Business Times 04/03/18

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Food Lover’s Market  Lover’s Rock

Joining all the other forces conspiring to show us our age in stark relief (we’re looking at you, hairline! Back pain, take a number) this week is Food Lover’s Market, which has been trading since almost before we gave up ciggies. A lithe yet worldly 25 years of age, Food Lover’s began life as a single Fruit & Veg City store in Access Park, Gauteng. 125 stores and several countries later, as well as 270 Freshstop at Caltex’s, Market Liquors, export business FVC International and Seattle Coffee company, brothers Brian and Michael Coppin show no signs of slowing down. At the heart of this growth, say the Bros’ Coppin, has been the network of relationships they’ve established with local farmers wherever their stores have taken root. They’ve also focused on the theatrical aspect of retail, darling, and interestingly, on designing their stores to appeal to children, not a demographic usually associated with the enthusiastic consumption of produce.
Comment: Excellent work, that exceptional South African business, and one of the great recent tales of success in retailing. We look forward to the next 25.

Tatler Reporter 05/03/18

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Price Wars  How cheap is a piece of string?

Who is South Africa’s cheapest retailer? Ah, young reader, that it were so simple. What is price, after all? How then are we to measure it… what? Oh. Turns out that Makro is South Africa’s cheapest retailer, by a respectable margin of R17 per basket of ten national brands as selected by Retail Price Watch, who have been tracking price changes across this basket from February last year to now, in Makro, Shoprite, Checkers, Pick n Pay and SPAR. Makro’s came in at R176, with Shoprite and Checkers more or less tied at R194 some change, leading Pick n Pay by nine ronts. The basket – which Retail Price Watch admit may not be entirely representative – contains such staples as Marie Biscuits, Jungle Oats, Koo Chakalaka and Imbo split peas.
Comment: As the VAT hike kicks in in the coming months, proving one’s price claims might become a competitive advantage.

Business Tech 04/03/18

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Listeriosis  Statement from CGCSA

The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) has issued a comprehensive statement on the listeriosis crisis here, excerpt below:
“Retailer and Manufacturer members of the CGCSA have instituted immediate removal and recall of all products affected in compliance with the directive from the National Consumer Commission (NCC). This is because the safety and health of consumers is of paramount importance and our members will fully comply with the recall directive. The CGCSA and its members have and will continue to assist the Department of Health (DOH) to contain the outbreak. Members of the CGCSA had already, before the confirmation of the laboratory tests, been cooperating with the NICD by providing access to their facilities for inspection, and Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) have also been visiting them for swabs needed for microbiological testing where necessary. CGCSA members also have ongoing routine testing schedules in place to monitor all food products for pathogens and to take action if these organisms are detected. The members have, as a result of the latest outbreak, taken additional precautionary measures to ensure the safety of food products sold to consumers.” 

Comment: CGCSA has long been a champion of food safety through its Food Safety Initiative, and is displaying calm and timely leadership during the crisis.

Tatler Reporter 07/03/2018

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AB InBev  News of the huge

As part of the conditions of the merger which saw the world’s two largest breweries become the world’s only brewing superpower, the South African government in its canny way attached to the deal a handsome rider in the form of public investment commitments from the business. ABInBevSABxyz as the company is now known will shortly be ready to flesh out the details of the form these will take. In the meantime, this: the company has committed a billion rand over five years in areas such as agriculture and enterprise and supplier development, in an agreement which is in its final stages of approval by the government. In its results released last week, the brewer announced that while volume growth in the year through December had been muted, earnings before ITDA had grown by an effervescent 13.4%, as a result, in part, of synergies and savings achieved from the merger.
Comment: At a time like this, we need commitments like this from businesses like that.

IOL 02/03/18

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GDP  A lion economy in the making

So the GDP growth figures came though this week and who-ho-hoaah! Easy, tiger! What are we – some kind of commodity-rich developing economy? 3.1% growth year on year for the fourth quarter of 2017, for a total of 1.3% for the year, waaaaay ahead of StatsSA’s prediction of 1%. Who do we have to thank? Why the sturdy men and indeed women of the agricultural sector, in their leather cowboy hats and those two-tone khaki Senque River shirts worn by people who reside 50km or more from the nearest ocean or large city. After 2016’s devastating drought, you see, agriculture came roaring back, with production rising 17.7% in the ’17, which also enjoyed a bumper maize crop and the birth of many fine, ruddy-cheeked babies in the hinterland. Finance and mining also delivered, the latter due in part to the increased production of manganese ore, chrome, and iron ore, which people in China apparently eat for breakfast, or make cell phones and bridges out of, or something.
Comment: Look, we have to do better than 3.1% and we have to do it off a higher agricultural base, and on a monthly basis. But right now, we’ll take it.

Tatler Reporter 05/03/18

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Pick n Pay  Next!

Pick n Pay is making a determined push into rolling out its spiffy Next Generation store format, (re)opening 26 new-look stores in 2017 alone. The new format brings together improvements in store design, space allocation, product range, store operations, labour efficiency, technology and customer service, all of which Trade Intelligence had the pleasure of experiencing themselves at the PnP franchise store in KZN’s upmarket town of Kloof (ed. English pronunciation please). “This is no longer the supermarket of the future, but the supermarket for today,” says PnP on its new blueprint. But don’t just take their word for it, or even ours. Let the store speak for itself here.

Tatler Reporter 07/03/2018

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International Retailers  Aldi right moves

In the US, general merchant Kohl’s, in an effort to right-size itself and return to satisfactory profitability, is partnering with Aldi, bringing the German discounter into ten locations as part of the strategy to broaden its offering into food and put the wind up rival Target, which has traditionally struggled to make its mark in comestibles. And across the pond, Tesco is also getting into discount, working with former Aldi exec Lawrence Harvey to develop its own cheap and cheerful format. In news which may not be unrelated, they’ve also won shareholder approval for their £4billion takeover of wholesaler Booker’s.

Tatler Reporter 07/03/18

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Events  Smooth!

Keynoting at the Seamless Africa conference this past week was Trade Intelligence CEO Maryla Masojada, who gave assembled delegates the lowdown on omni-channel retail as it is practiced in this great industry we call home. The event focuses on the exciting world of payments, fintech, ecommerce, and retail. For more on omni-channel from Trade Intelligence, have a look here.

Tatler Reporter 07/03/18

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