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 Jul - 28 Jul

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Woolworths  Play up, play up, and play the game

The Posh One has reported a growth in sales of 10.5% in the year to June, with clothing and GM leading the charge at 11.2% as Woolies’ better-heeled punter pieced together the credit card she’d chopped up a year or so ago and came teetering into the nearest flagship store on her Jimmy Choos. Food sales were up a hardly less impressive 9.9%, with like store sales up 5.6% and internal inflation kicking along briskly at 5.2%. The chaps in the leather armchairs are understandably chuffed, with the old share price climbing 75% over the year, a damned sight better than everyone else. The consensus is that while Woolies took a manfully disproportionate share of the punishment on the way down, it’s back in the prefect’s room and on the right side of the little bamboo stick on the way back up.
Comment: Or something. Anyway, jolly good show.

Business Day 22/07/10

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Pick n Pay  A long time coming

Pick n Pay has just officially opened its 65,000m2 Longmeadow Distribution Centre, which will serve the Big Blue’s 284 inland region stores for starters, and is what might be considered a belated but significant first step on the journey to central distribution all over the show. Early successes have seen product availability up 20%, where previously up to 65% of stock was not delivered under the old direct-to-store delivery system, and those in the know say that distribution costs will fall from 6 to 7% of total down to 3% by October. Certain of the leerier analysts believe that when the time comes, PnP should be moving to own rather than rent its distribution space as rentals have a way of reducing your savings on efficiencies, and suggest that this could be a suitable way to spend the Franklin’s windfall. We’ll wait and see, says the patient Mr Badminton. Longmeadow, by the by, is wholly owned by the Big Blue, and cost a whacking R628million to develop.
Comment: A big ship takes a long time to turn around, or so our nautical chums tell us.

Business Report 21/07/10, Business Day 21/07/10

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Massmart  This time I know it’s for real...

The story on the cover of last week’s FM, littered though it was with the spot-the-design mistakes so typical of business publications, was that some foreigners might be interested in some SA retailers, maybe. Or they might not. This as speculation about the Walmart takeover of Massmart (or indeed Shoprite) reaches a fevered drone. The real story, of course, as the splendid fellows over at Massmart so kindly point out, is that Massmart is already in foreign hands, just not big, hamburger-greasy Walmart ones. 60-70% of Massmart free-floating stock is currently owned by foreign investors, who have joined in the general excitement which has seen Massmart share price and P:E rising to historical highs of R122 and 24, respectively – in part, says Grant Pattison, because foreigners have until recently thought the Massmart share was too cheap.
Comment: No cautionary yet, either. Hmmm.

Financial Mail 22/07/10

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AVI  Put that in your Manolos and smoke it

Good news for punters who have taken a flutter on AVI is that the tea, biscuit, fish and upmarket footwear giant (OK inter alia, we know) is expecting headline earnings per share to rise 11 to 16% for the year to June compared with the previous year. This on a modest increase in revenue of 2.3%, where satisfactory growth in most business units was offset by a decline in I&J’s revenue, victim to a lower hake quota, lower export prices and a stronger rand. Notable achievers in the stable were AVI’s personal care and footwear brands, although everyone showed good improvement in operating profit – Snackworks particularly so in the second half of the year, due to lower commodity prices and efficiencies in the factory.
Comment: The release of Sex and the City 2 couldn’t have hurt the sales of Jimmy Choo’s, either...

I-Net Bridge 23/07/10

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SAB  Et tu, beer?

SAB won’t be doing its bit for the boytjies following the dropping of the Springbok team by main sponsor Sasol. SAB currently enjoys an associate sponsorship of the bunch of overpaid, over the hill crybabies national side. Sasol was apparently paying through the nose for the sponsorship, and SAB already has other commitments through its Castle brand to the Proteas and Bafana Bafana. And speaking of the latter, while the World Cup did, as reported last week, provide a boost for sales, volumes were down year-on-year for the quarter to June, through poor weather and an ill-timed Easter. In fizzier news, SABMiller garnered, if that’s the word, top spot in Fortune Magazine’s Most Admired Companies survey, thanks to its focus on emerging markets, which are quite the thing these days.
Comment: Tough times for two stalwarts of the great South African Saturday, then.

Business Report 23/07/10

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SAP  A walk in the cloud

SAP, newly emerged from the global shakeup which saw the dismissal of their old CEO and a new leadership team in place, has revealed its vision for a future which will see greater investment in cloud computing and mobile, and software development driven by feedback and input from customers. The Überboff will also be moving away from big product releases to allow for a landscape of applications that have multiple deployment options, if you catch our drift, and will be avoiding lengthy upgrades to focus on speed, flexibility and openness.
Comment: Good news for users. Bad news for the propellerheads for whom the words “SAP Implementation” once meant a meal ticket for life...

Tatler Reporter 28/07/10

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The Repo Rate  Steady as she goes...

Mrs Doubtfire over at the Reserve Bank has served up an uncharacteristic bowl of cold porridge by keeping the repo rate unchanged at 6.5%, proving 50% of economists wrong, which is about average. However, Mrs D did acknowledge that the economy is not what it might be, and that “appropriate action” will be taken should things not improve to her satisfaction. She noted that while the dear old rand has strengthened somewhat since the beginning of the year, it remains a volatile currency, and the Bank stands ready to do what it must. She also clucked about the risks of high wage increases in a slow manufacturing sector.
Comment: In an ideal world, the incorrect economists would be named and shamed, fined or pilloried for their wilder predictions.

The Times 23/07/10

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Deflation  System of a down

According to Massmart, prices are in deflation in both its Massdiscounters division, where they have dropped an average of 4.2% in the past year, and at Masscash, where they’ve declined 0.6%. The Masscash number, reflecting purchases of food rather than general merchandise, is of course of greater concern to our readers in FMCG, who must surely be eyeing StatsSA’s food inflation number of 0.7% (June YOY) with some concern. Whence the decline? Demand might be a culprit, particularly at the lower end, where Masscash trades, and which is first to be hit by declining employment, also a concern this quarter.
Comment: Shaky times, with certain sharp-suited analysts predicting a W-shaped recession, even in SA.

Finweek 22/07/10

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Pick n Pay  Le shopping

Pick n Pay is to be the anchor tenant in a flash new mall on the Isle of Pink Drinks. Cascavelle Shopping Mall will be an elegant lifestyle centre located at Mauritius’ bustling Flic en Flac Junction in Tamarin Bay, and will be developed by locals Medine Property in a JV with Retail Africa inter alia. 21/07/10

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Woolworths  Come fly with me

Woolies has opened the third of its airport stores, this one at Durban’s King Shaka International, which despite the removal of the statue of the man himself, on the grounds of it being too skinny or not warlike enough or something, is the most gorgeous edifice of its kind on South African soil, echoing as it does the billowing curves of the surrounding landscape, walls of blue green glass filtering the afternoon sun as you make your final approach – but we digress. Nice Woolies, though, selected items of apparel for the discerning traveller, sandwiches, baristas, you know the story.

Tatler Reporter 22/07/10

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