Trade Tatler
“Whichever party is in office, the Treasury is in power.”
Harold Wilson

TATLER ARCHIVE

THIS ISSUE:     05 May - 10 May

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RETAILERS AND WHOLESALERS

Dis-Chem  Tsk Tsk Chem? Or not…

Those Dis-Chem results then: Turnover up +13.3%, with operating profit well… flat, but more on that later. Headline earnings per share were up +6.6%, a number which caused some punters to ditch the share, which took a 9.95% hit on the result, as well as on rumours of insider trading after surprise sell offs before the results were announced – activities into which the Johannesburg Securities Exchange is now looking. But back to the business itself: the poor showing profit-wise we believe is a punt for the future – the significant investments that Dis-Chem has made to scaling its wholesale operation point to a business investing in the infrastructure needed to respond to the escalating demand for health and wellness products and services. Also on the upside: the ambitious growth plan seems to be on track, with 21 new stores added for the FY for a total of 129.
Comment: The challenge for Dis-Chem was always going to be trading the mindset of a deeply-private family-owned business into that of a publicly traded company. But we don’t believe Ivan Saltzman’s health & wellness retail brilliance should be underestimated. Watch this space.

Fin 24 04/05/18

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Clicks  A Healthy Return on Investment

Sure there are other stories we could tell this week, about derring-do on the high seas of retail, or desperate, lonely acts of courage in the boardroom. Instead, there’s this: Clicks has set a new benchmark for corporate decency, by earmarking R31m in 2019 to provide health insurance to 9,200 employees earning less than R14,000 per month and thus adding to the only 8 million or so South Africans with this sort of coverage – a figure that has remained flat for several years. Mr Kneale? “We encourage other companies to show their commitment to improving access to quality healthcare for their employees by funding their healthcare benefits,” says the quiet man. “Collectively, corporate SA can play a meaningful role in reducing the pressure on the overburdened state healthcare system.”
Comment: Clicks have also pointed to the value of such initiatives in both productivity and staff retention, showing a commendable regard for the value of its human assets.

Tatler Reporter 07/05/18

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Boxer  The Mysterious East

Nice work from Boxer, which after 41 years in business has just broken ground for the first time in the historic – even iconic – surrounds of Lenasia, where it has been warmly welcomed. Introducing the concept of discount retailing to the South African shopper, Boxer has taken determined steps to redefine its retail business model in response to a trading context which requires tight stock management, deep knowledge of the shopper, connectivity into the community and efficiency resulting in cost-savings through the value chain. With community retailing and shopper engagement being a core principle of successful retailing today, most staff are locals, including the store manager, Jessica Pillay. “I grew up in Lenasia, and still think of Lens as my community,” she says. “I am so happy to open the first Boxer Store in this area.” Boxer has built its reputation not just on offering value to its middle and lower income shoppers, but on providing them with the dignity and enjoyment of the modern retail experience, which in the case of the Lenasia store includes specialist departments like butchery, bakery and deli, as well as the standard lifestyle services which shoppers have come to expect from their supermarkets like airtime, utility payments, and cash withdrawals.
Comment: A true pioneer of the South African retail scene – one which has adapted its trading model to profitably survive and thrive in the SA’s trading context.

Tatler Reporter 07/05/18

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MANUFACTURERS AND SERVICE PROVIDERS

Libstar  Private Dancer

So Libstar, the quiet and unsung business which brings you such brand as Lancewood, Goldcrest, Cape Herb and Denny, is about to up stick and list on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE). To this end, it’s raised a handsome R1.5bn in capital. Of further interest to punters might be its distribution arrangements with a range of other local and global brands, including Tabasco, Kikkoman, Olitalia, Kiri, Bel, Laughing Cow, Lurpak, Act II, Maille and Villan, and of even more compelling interest might be its richly remunerative stable of private label clients, which include in their number some businesses of which you may have heard, like Woolworths, Shoprite Checkers, Pick n Pay and SPAR. Private label brought in 42% of Libstar’s overall revenue in the ’17. All in all, as the prelisting documentation notes, Libstar is a business with a talent for identifying industry trends and accessing innovative product categories.
Comment: Anyone would think they had read the Trade Intelligence 2018 Retail trends Report! Which they probably have.

Business Day 07/05/18

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Kellogg  Into the West

Things are relatively quiet on the home front, so let’s nip over the equator for a squizz at the business popularly but incorrectly known as Kellogg’s. That’s right: it’s Kellogg, singular, with the confusion creeping in over the possessive case: Kellogg’s Cornflakes. See what we mean? Good. Anyway, where were we? Ah yes. Turns out they’ve made a $400m bet on growth in Africa, in the face of a declining appetite for breakfast cereals, and Iranian nuclear deals, in the United States. The business has just released a tidy set of quarterlies, with sales topping $3.40bn, getting a shot in the arm from sales of snacks such as Pringles chips and protein bars, and from turnover from its recent Nigerian acquisition Tolaram Africa Foods, which has given the business a toehold in the growing West African market.
Comment: West Africa, eh? Hope some of our great South African companies are nosing around those parts, because you wouldn’t want Uncle Sam to beat you to it.

IOL 05/05/18

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TRADE ENVIRONMENT

The Economy  The writing’s on the wall

Welcome to Cyriltopia™, where the economy’s booming, VAT and the price of petrol are plummeting and jobs are to be found around every corner. OK, true, we’re by no means there yet, but some pretty smart people are bending their brains towards what might get us there, and here’s a word they’re kicking about among themselves: “reindustrialisation”, a word we expect you’ll be seeing in the financial pages every day for the foreseeable future. A new report by the dti, promisingly entitled “Structural transformation in SA: moving towards a smart, open economy for all” points out that when it comes to SA’s industrial structure, we’ve been pretty much treading water for the last 24 years. We need a new vision to reindustrialise the economy, beefing up our capabilities in science, technology, engineering and maths and the application of these fields in manufacturing, moving away from the less diverse, ‘lower-value-added’ products that have characterised our efforts this past while.
Comment: Where do we sign up?

Financial Mail 03/05/18

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IN BRIEF

International Retailers  Buy, buy, blackbird

In the UK, Waitrose is extending its surplus food distribution platform, which allows local charities to see what stores have surplus food for collection, through the charity FareShare and using the Irish IT platform FoodCloud. Also, the competition authorities are raising a skeptical British eyebrow at Sainsbury’s proposed takeover of Asda, expressing concerns about impacts on the supply chain and on consumer choice. In India, Naspers are about to cash in big on the sale of its holding in online retailer Flipkart to Walmart, enabling Koos Bekker to buy as many beige polo necks as he damned well pleases.

Tatler Reporter 08/05/17

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SPAR  When Irish Eyes are Spyin’

In Ireland, SPAR acquisition BWG is poised to acquire rival 4 Aces Wholesale. This has raised a red flag with the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, which says that BWG might access sensitive information during the negotiation about the rival Gala wholesale network, which 4 Aces supplies. BWG, you will recall, supplies goods to SPAR, Eurospar, Londis and other independent stores in Ireland.

Irish Examiner 03/05/18

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Nestlé  One more cup of coffee for the road

In a development of weary inevitability, it seems that Nestlé is about to acquire that portion of Starbucks that sells bagged coffee and packaged drinks in supermarkets. Starbucks recently sold its struggling Tazo tea brand, which was just too clever for its own good, to Unilever for $384m. It seems a foregone conclusion that we will shortly live in a world where everything that once was good is owned by something huge.

IOL 05/05/18

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