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Pick n Pay  The wide blue yonder

Big up to the Big Blue, who turned in a cracker set of numbers last week, with turnover +7.1% to R86.3bn and HEPS up +18%. Coming off the back of what has been a difficult time for the PnP business, growth in the Beloved Country was particularly pleasing, with gross profit +7.8% YoY. Between PnP and Boxer, the Group opened 110 net new stores, closing 20 underperformers, adding 2.3% to turnover growth, and refurbed 103. This puts like-store growth at +4.8%, in an economy growing at around a quarter of that. Centralised distribution rollout continued, with 75% of the supply chain now centralised, up 10 percentage points from last year. Significantly, trading margin – where PnP has lagged some of its competitors – was up to 2.4%, edging closer to PnP’s 3% medium-term goal.
Comment: A feather in the cap of the team. What is important is to unpack the business and understand which formats and focus areas are driving the growth (e.g. a winning PnP private label offering) across the Group.

Tatler Reporter 30/04/19

SA Retail Roundup  Yeeehaaah!

Nice work from Shoprite, making it easy for punters at select supermarkets in KZN and the Eastern Cape to add R5 or more to their grocery bill for donation to Gift of the Givers flood relief efforts in those stricken regions. Tymebank have recruited up their 250,000th customer, a whacking 78% of whom have signed up at kiosks in Pick n Pays and Boxers around the country. Speaking of financial services, 125,000 people are now using Pick n Pay’s credit account to help buy groceries. Finally, Woolies has announced the national rollout, after successful trials, of a range of low-cost reusable shopping bags.
Comment: It’s hard to envision a day when our industry will finally be weaned of its destructive packaging habit. But we’ll take the incremental changes as they come.

Tatler Reporter 30/04/19

Store Openings  Go big, stay home, whatever works

A whole bunch of store openings this past week, each with something to teach us about the strategies of the respective retailers. First up, Boxer Superstores, still on the march to dominance as a national discount supermarket, bringing the value, enjoyment and dignity of modern retail to all South Africans, with the opening of its latest store in Mamelodi. Makro, sticking to its knitting whilst introducing impressive big box store operations and shopper experience innovation, opened their state-of-the-art Makro Cornubia store in the densely-populated outskirts of Durban today. Look out for the photo feature which Trade Intelligence research team will be publishing, Shoprite, still expanding strategically in the motherland despite setbacks here at home, opened its second store in Kenya, in Nairobi’s Garden City Mall. And Pick n Pay continues to grow the franchise division beyond our borders, with the opening of its 22nd Namibia store operated by the Ohlthaver & List group, in Ondangwa.
Comment: Despite the difficult trading conditions, this is not an industry in disarray.

Tatler Reporter 25/03/19

Tongaat Hulett, Aspen  Bitter pill

Trouble down in the canefields as Tongaat Hulett’s new CEO Gavin Hudson brings in PwC to look over the books, on the suspicion that there was something iffy going on with land sales, which may have been tacked onto the bottom line to give it a bit of a boost before the sales themselves actually went through. As far as we can tell, anyway. To send a further chill down the boxer shorts of worried investors is the fact that PwC were also appointed to have a gander at things just as they were going south at Steinhoff. And in other news of the worrying among the rolling hills north of Durban come calls from punters for Aspen CEO Stephen Saad and deputy Gus Attridge to consider hanging up their white coats for the good of the team. Some analysts believe that in expanding manufacturing capacity ahead of actual sales, Aspen abandoned the model that got it to where it was: a manufacturer of inexpensive generics for emerging markets.

Comment: The boom years of the Mbeki administration saw the growth of some great South African businesses. It is to be hoped that they will ride out the storms of these more difficult years.

Financial mail 14/03/19 Business Times 17/03/19

Pick n Pay  Tyme is on their side

A couple of weeks ago, we reported on the launch of the TymeBank offering in Boxer Superstores around the country. Of course, TymeBank is being launched across the Group, and PnP have rather savvily tied it onto their Smart Shopper programme, which needs some love after they slashed the value of the points a couple years ago now. So from hereon in, punters using their TymeBank debit card will double their haul of Smart Shopper points, getting a point for every ront spent rather than for two, and will even earn a point for every R3 spent when paying with their TymeBank card at any vendor in South Africa. In the run-up to the official launch, the business had already signed up 80,000 account holders. In other PnP news, residents of Windhoek may now order their groceries online from the Big Blue at, with an initial offering of 1,300 lines. Buyonline is an independent business established by four starry-eyed young Namibian tech entrepreneurs; Pick n Pay is its first major retailer.
Comment: Pick n Pay are starting to join some pretty significant dots in positioning the business for the 21st century.

IOL 27/02/19

Boxer Superstores  Tyme flies

Boxer have always seen their stores as more than simply grocery retail. Now they’re offering their customers full-service banking, in partnership with TymeBank, whose EveryDay account Boxer are offering at a low cost with no monthly fees, unlimited free card swipes and free cash withdrawals at tills. And in an environment where sometimes overly complex bureaucracy remains a significant barrier to social mobility, shoppers can open the account providing simply their thumbprint as ID. Goodbye complicated application processes, hello personalised VISA card in just five minutes. The TymeBank offering also comes with 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi in Boxer stores daily, speeding up transactions. Shoppers can withdraw and make deposits, do EFTs and set up debit orders, at any Boxer or Pick n Pay till point. TymeBank is owned by African Rainbow Capital, a fully black-owned and controlled investment business.
Comment: Excellent work, Boxer, who are tackling the challenge of providing SA’s unbanked with a new kind of banking solution head on.

Tatler Reporter 11/02/19

International Retailers  Counter productive

Seismic stuff over at Tesco, which is looking at axing all of its meat, fish and delicatessen counters and downgrading in-store bakeries in order to get rid of around 15,000 excess human people and save itself £1.5bn from the overhead in order to stay afloat, as it struggles to bring back the profits it last saw before the accounting scandal of 2014. In other words, Tesco is not a real business, able to make a profit while employing people and giving customers what they want. In Italy, in the meantime, Lidl (which is a real business) is teaming up with online delivery service Supermercato24 to offer punters the convenience of shopping in the boxer shorts and string vests Italians habitually wear around the casa.

Tatler Reporter 25/01/19

Pick n Pay  A stitch in… oh, never mind.

Storied billionaire Patrice Motsepe has, as you may or may not know, has just launched Africa’s first digital-only bank, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of African Rainbow Capital. What you may not fathom, just yet, is the Pick n Pay connection. Over to you, TymeBank CEO Sandile Tshabalala: “We have partnered with 33 Pick n Pay and Boxer stores, which offer a point-of-presence for customers to interact with the bank and we will continue to roll out kiosks throughout the country.” Thank you sir. The kiosks will serve as the only locations for cash deposits; punters may withdraw at other participating retailers, and will also be able to earn discounts and rewards if they shop at partner retailers with their debit cards.
Comment: Another great stride in reducing the ranks of the unbanked, and kudos to PnP and Boxer for getting in on the ground floor.

Tatler reporter 03/12/18

Boxer Superstores  Good neighbours

Boxer Superstores have just opened their latest super in the newly-opened Peddie Plaza Shopping Centre in the Eastern Cape. Did we say super? Not so fast: “We're not a supermarket, we’re a discounter,” says national operations director Chris Theron, referring to the business model which has proved so successful and which seems tailor-made for the South African context. A pillar of the Boxer business is its engagement with the communities it serves. “With this store we've created 80 jobs for the local community, while for 15 managerial positions, we have promoted our staff from neighbouring stores, to afford them the chance to grow,” says Mr T. The business will bring the full Boxer experience, with its modern store design, payment facilities, cash withdrawals, a deli, fruit and vegetables and a bakery to a previously under-served community.

Comment: Another local landmark. Nice work Boxer.

Tatler Reporter 30/10/18

Boxer Superstores  250*

Congrats and kudos to Boxer Superstores this week, who celebrated the opening of their 250th  outpost, in Jeppe Street, Jozi. Situated in the iconic building that formerly housed the Johannesburg CBD Post Office, Boxer’s 250th  addition boasts 2,300m2 of its latest new generation specs on offer. The discounter’s arrival also brought traffic to a complete standstill with a tickertape parade of stunt bikers as customers ran in to fill their trolleys. The rise of Boxer as a home-grown power of retail in response to the demand among Southern African shoppers for a place where they will find value, services and the dignity of a pleasant and modern place to shop has been one of the great stories of the last decade.
Comment: 250 not out – a score that Faf’s boys would have loved in the sub-continent this week.

Tatler Reporter 23/07/18

Retailers  The Butler did it

So congrats to Comrades ladies’ winner Ann Ashworth, and to her team, the (ahem) Massmart Athletics Club, as well as Tanith Maxwell from the Boxer Athletic Club who came in fourth.  And of course to all of the other members of our great industry who took part, including Trade Intelligence’s very own Tarryn “Roost” Butler, who came in in a respectable 10:19:58. A grand South African tradition.

Tatler Reporter 10/05/18

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

Pick n Pay  Da-da-daah, da-da-daaaaah!

PnP’s articulation of its strategy hasn’t changed in these four years gone by and with the recent publication of the FY2018 results, we reckon it’s a good time to take stock of how the business has progressed against this strategy, and what its short to medium term plan looks like. 1) Two phases have been tackled thus far, with a phase of stabilisation taking two years followed by a phase of growth trajectory marked by an improvement of the estate, with the rollout of next-gen stores and refurbs. 2) There has been major growth in the corporate store footprint (including Boxer), going from 643 to 928 stores in just three years, with franchise numbers rising from 433 to 630. 3) Central distribution is a key pillar of the strategy, with product volume throughput climbing from 56% to 60% in 2017 alone, and a target of an “optimal” 80%. 4) Private label is a major push, now accounting for approximately 20% of sales, with 700 new products launched in the past year alone. 5) Mr B has big plans for the Boxer brand, which now has 152 supermarkets, and is benefitting from a major investment of Brasher’s time and Pick n Pay’s money.
Comment: Pick n Pay’s ‘Rocky-like’ resurrection is one of the most thrilling stories we’re seeing in our 13 years before the trusty old Remington in the clamorous newsroom here at Tatler Towers.

Tatler Reporter 02/05/18

Boxer  She shoots, she scores!

Here’s a link to a heart-warming story from our friends at Boxer, whose Enterprise and Supplier Development programme helped a photographer with an understanding of the Boxer business set up her own business, assisting her with getting it correctly registered and up to date with its tax admin, helping her acquire equipment and get her BBBEE certification.
Comment: Nation building, in microcosm. Nice.

Tatler Reporter 05/02/18

Pick n Pay  Silva bullet?

Adding muscle to the Pick n Pay management team this week is Pedro Da Silva, who joins the business as retail MD. It’s an important appointment for Pick n Pay, and an interesting one given the span of Da Silva’s career in such geographies as Portugal, Columbia and significantly, in Poland, where he was instrumental in the turnaround and ensuing success of the Biedronka business. Why interesting? Because Biedronka has been a retailer of interest for a few of our South African retailers recently, partly as a result of the success that Boxer has enjoyed with the adoption of some of Biedronka’s operating principles into the Boxer business.
Comment: Will we see a move to a more limited range, soft discounter positioning at Pick n Pay supermarkets, similar to that we have seen in Boxer’s next generation discount stores?

Tatler Reporter 22/01/18

Massmart  Who run the world?

Taking strides, if you will, into SPAR and Boxer territory this week is Massmart, which has just launched its own elite women’s running club. Team Massmart currently sponsors eight superfast women, including founder Ann Ashworth, the winner of this year’s Loskop Marathon. The idea is to throw Massmart muscle behind a relatively under-supported sport while presumably picking up some profile and goodwill for the brand.

The Citizen 31/10/17

Boxer   R2.0

Boxer Stores is relaunching the popular money transfer service to its customers, allowing transfers of up to R5,000 daily, with a monthly limit of R15,000, using a Boxer Money Services or Pick n Pay Smart Shopper card, from any Boxer or Pick n Pay till point, with a code applicable only to the transfer in question.

Tatler Reporter 05/09/17

Boxer Superstores  Title bout

Congratulations to our friends at Boxer Superstores for picking up top prize in the Trade category of the KZN Top Business Awards, ahead of fellow-finalists Hirsch’s and Sparkport Pharmacies. KZN has been a springboard for Boxer into the wider realm of South African trade, where it has established itself as a major retail brand.

Tatler Reporter 08/08/17

Boxer  Fighting fit

In the 12 months to Feb 2017, Boxer Superstores opened a very healthy 25 new stores, including 11 in its new generation discount supermarket format.  Boxer’s intention is to have “more stores serving more communities”. How’s that going? So far, so good: they’ve opened a store in Worcester, a couple in KZN, one in Swaziland and one in the North West. And that’s in the space of just one month. Then, as you might recall, a little while back they opened the one in Mitchells Plain, on the site of the first Pick n Pay store opened in a township under the Group Areas Act. The store was opened with Raymond and Wendy Ackerman, CEO Richard Brasher and cricketer JP Duminy in attendance. Thus far, the community is rewarding the historic opening with sales: “We are more than pleased in the progress that we are seeing in the store,” says Boxer Marketing Director Andrew Mills.
Comment: The rise of Boxer as a power of retail is one of the most satisfying stories of the last decade.

Tatler Reporter 10/07/17

SA Retailers  Small potatoes

South African retail is having its day in court, and so far the proceedings have been brutal, with various players giving the big guys stick from all angles at the Grocery Retail Sector Market Enquiry, playing to packed houses over at the Competition Commission. This last week, it was the turn of the smaller suppliers, which argued, in a nutshell, that they don’t get a fair shake when it comes to supplying the big retailers, finding it difficult to meet the burden of costs which may include labelling, standards compliance, refrigeration and transport. There have been calls for retailers to be compelled to stock a minimum of products from small suppliers. This is one of those instances where the story is the story – the press has been full of these stories this week, not all of them entirely accurate, with very little comment from any of the corporate retailers themselves. All of whom, it should be noted, have their own supplier development programmes from Massmart (see below) to SPAR, Boxer and Shoprite, which each have significant programmes for the support of small farmers.
Comment: What is lost in this investigation is the fact that the retailers are merely the front end of a long value chain where costs are added at every point, from the farm to the forklift. And that small suppliers are subject to the same market forces which reward scale as a means of delivering value to the end consumer. Tricky stuff.

The Times 06/07/17

Boxer  And in the Western corner…

Boxer continues to head West, opening its second store in the Fairest Cape last week in the heart of Mitchells Plain’s Town Centre. A Pick n Pay store for close on 40 years, the spot was renovated in just over a month, opening its doors as a shiny new Boxer to the loyal Mitchells Plain community. The store boasts the immaculate flow, space and value-adds that we have come to expect from Boxer Discount supermarkets and brings the Group’s tally to 234 Boxer stores nationwide. For a take on the grand opening from our very own on-the-ground reporter, click here.
Comment: Light-footed stuff there from the champ, who continues to bob and weave its way across SA.

Tatler Reporter 15/05/17

Pick n Pay  Blue horizons

A quick recap of the Pick n Pay strategy, over which you have no doubt been poring in our Trade Profiles. Here goes: 1. Maximise the existing estate with a focus on next generation stores and non-food; 2. Put the customer first, delivering value through price and private label; 3. High product availability through further centralisation and improved forecasting and replenishment; 4. Make Boxer a national brand, which is a great idea and Pick n Pay’s best hope of going after Shoprite’s main market shoppers; and 5. Growth outside the home market – especially in Zimbabwe and Zambia, then in Ghana and Nigeria with a couple more geographies to follow in due course. Of concern to analysts is that Pick n Pay’s top-line sales growth continues to lag that of Shoprite, a situation this strategy seems well-placed to remedy. 
Comment: Pick n Pay’s recovery was unfortunately timed to hit the headwinds of our current economic slump. But it is becoming evident that the measures they have put in place during this difficult ambit is positioning them for more robust growth in years to come.

Business Day 26/05/17

Pick n Pay  Slow but steady

So those Pick n Pay results, then: turnover up 7% to R77.5bn, with after tax profit up 17% to R1.2bn. The former they attribute to "disruption to trade" due to refurbs on 62 stores and the closure of 12 underperformers, while the latter, they say, is a result of greater operating efficiency, cost discipline, a more centralised supply chain and higher productivity in stores, all of which have been critical to its slow and steady recovery. A nice clutch of new stores: 68 new Pick n Pay company-owned stores and 25 new Boxer stores, across all formats, while on the franchise front the business now has 111 Express stores, having doubled the haul in two years. All this, however, as the competition makes its own adjustments with reality – Woolies by experimenting with price cuts, SPAR by going offshore, Checkers by focusing on fresh.
Comment: Perhaps getting back to basics is the magic formula?

Ti Analyst 19/04/17

Boxer  As sharp as an assegai, 40 years stronger

Mum’s the Word if you put Brasher on the spot to give you the lowdown on Boxer’s financial performance, as Pick n Pay does not segment the Boxer numbers. They did, however, allude to the importance of Boxer’s increasing importance to the Pick n Pay stable, reporting strong turnover growth as a result of price investment…something every South African welcomes with open arms. Strong gross profit performance was attributed to greater participation of its butchery, fresh produce and value-added convenience categories. Celebrating the 40th milestone with a total of 232 stores is something to be proud of.  25 new Boxer stores were opened over the past year, delivering on the Group’s promise to open new stores in communities which it had previously not served. Refurbishments are a plenty, bringing the total New Generation Boxer stores to 41. 
Comment: More stores serving more communities, keep going Boxer.

Tatler Reporter 20/04/17

British American Tobacco  There’s gold in them tar lungs

British American Tobacco (BAT) has just taken one on the chin at the ASA from feisty veteran Leonard Dingler, a company, not a person and the manufacturer of the 95-year-old BOXER pipe tobacco brand. At issue was BAT’s newly-launched Africa Gold products on the grounds of similar branding (identical shades of orange, black and gold etc.) While BAT fought the bout all the way to its bitter end, it has moved on to other things, investing US$1 billion in the development and marketing of “next generation” products, which include “e-cigarettes” (named at a time when e-mail was about the coolest thing you could do on a computer) and Tobacco Heating Products (“Arr, me hearties! Fill yer pipes and I’ll tell ye a tale that will shiver yer eyebrows clean off of yer heads!”). They’re also buying the 57.8% of Reynolds American that they do not already own.
Comment: Or they could diversify into toilet paper and orange juice.

Business Day 14/03/17, The Times 16/03/17

Social Grants  Taken for granted

In the grim light of the impending Sassa crisis, there is one group of beneficiaries of social grants we have overlooked: the multibillion rand businesses where most of the grant money ends up. Take Shoprite, for example, which pocketed R2.1billion in October, November and December from South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) card purchases. PnP made R1billion over the same period, with Boxer following at R553million and SPAR at R197million. Even Woolworths and KFC took home their share, at R5.9million and R2.7million respectively. (The figures are taken from card swipes only and do not take into account Sassa money withdrawn from ATMs or from the retailers and spent). What is to become of these businesses should the payments promised on April 1 not materialise? Perhaps understandably, this is not a question that exercises the Social Development Department much. Rather, they are focusing their efforts on the little guy, launching a drive to ensure that "money is left in the communities" with SMMEs instead of going to big businesses, and, their words, looking for "a beneficiary-centred system that will improve economic activity where beneficiaries live and receive their social grants".
Comment: Don’t get us wrong, but there is something in that…

The Times 12/02/17

Pick n Pay  Tight shop

So the Pick n Pay Group has done OK these last three and a half years, sorting out its supply chain, trimming things back at head office, launching a range of beloved plastic trinkets, launching a second range of beloved plastic trinkets – OK scratch that last one – and generally getting back on a former footing. One area where it believes it can do better though is in customer experience, and to this end it will shortly be forking out R1.55billions, with a b, on new stores and revamps across both PnP and Boxer stores. New generation stores – with such innovations as faster checkouts and a broader product offering in PnPs, including store-in-store clothing, wine and personal-care departments – have been the focus of this spend. It’s an investment which seems to have paid off, yielding double-digit growth from these stores in the interim period through August. Centralised distribution has also been a big winner – where once 40% of a store was given over to storage that number is now down to 5 – 10%.
Comment: The second act turns out to be more thrilling than the first.

Financial Mail 03/11/16

Boxer  The stuff that dreams are made of

Once again tapping into the zeitgeist and giving South Africans not just what they want but always what they need, Boxer Superstores and partner Sunlight have just completed a phenomenally successful run of their promotion/TV show/CSR Project “Dreams Come True at Boxer with Sunlight”. By purchasing any two Sunlight products from Boxer stores nationwide, shoppers were able to enter the competition, which saw winners receive assistance in making their personal dreams come true, from the relatively humble, like a once-in-a-lifetime holiday in Durban, to the truly inspiring, like a R50,000 makeover for a childcare centre in Lusikisiki. Over the duration of the campaign, the “Dreams Come True at Boxer with Sunlight” competition received almost 50,000 unique entries and every one of those dreams were listened to by the dedicated “Dream Team” at Boxer. For more on this great campaign, click here.
Comment: Excellent work, which comes from the heart of a truly great South African retail brand.

Tatler Reporter 31/10/16

Pick n Pay  Click click, ching ching!

Something we’re pretty sure you didn’t know (although, obviously, we did) is that Pick n Pay has a warehouse somewhere in the Cape dedicated to supplying online orders, and driving sales in that, to be honest, pampered geography. Now another is planned, in Isando outside Jo’burg. Some percentages to follow, stay alert. 50%+ of online shoppers make more than R20k a month, while 30% earn between R6k and R20k. It is this latter group that Pick n Pay want to target. In addition, 80% of South Africans do not own cars, but do 60% of all grocery shopping, and you can kind of see where this is going. An argument may be made that an opportunity exists for the Group to bring online to its middle-income shoppers, perhaps through the Boxer Superstores chain. What remains to be seen is whether delivering to these shoppers at a time convenient to them may be made profitable.
Comment: Point is Pick n Pay, an early adopter in online grocery retail, is trying. And when the profits do flow, they will be among the first to cash in.

Business Day 20/10/16

Pick n Pay  Boxing clever

Syd Vianello, doyen of SA retail analysts, has identified Pick n Pay’s Boxer chain as being the secret weapon in the Big Blue’s arsenal. “I don’t think people realise what a powerful brand that is and could be," says he. “They are doing the right things in that direction.” He points out that more Boxers are being opened than Pick n Pay corporates. This as part of a broader discussion on the resurgence of Pick n Pay, which is slowly but surely chipping away at Shoprite’s market share. Vianello is confident that the business is on its way back – it’s a great brand in a robust sector, he says, which at least in SA has not been materially affected by the move to online retail. One of Pick n Pay’s big successes has been through the growth in an obscure line item called “other income,” which increased by more than 30% last year, and includes money-spinners such as supplier rebates, marketing contributions, financial service income, franchise fees and the sale of data derived from the Smart Shopper programme to suppliers.
Comment: It’s long been said of Pick n Pay that it is a financial institution as much as it is a retailer. This recent growth seems to bear that out.

Financial Mail 03/06/16

Pick n Pay  Jammy!

Pick n Pay has always played fast and loose with the flimsy line between retail and financial services – Nedbank kiosks, tillpoint withdrawals, that sort of thing. So its latest endeavour – as paymaster for microjobbing platform M4JAM – should not completely flabbergast you. For those of our readers unattuned to the brave new world of work, M4JAM allows people with a bit of time on their hands to answer surveys on their smartphones for cash, rather than making in-app Candy Crush purchases. Once you’ve amassed a bit of wedge, is the general idea, you download a wiCode then head on over to your nearest PnP or Boxer and collect the amount owing to you. Not sure how the business model works for PnP, but doubtless some consideration from M4JAM is involved, plus the opportunity to sell small impulse items to the jobbers as they cash in.

Comment: It’s only fair to note that Checkers and Shoprite are also participating in the M4JAM payola scheme too.

Tatler Reporter 16/02/16

Boxer  Packing a punch

A great one-two combo this last week from Boxer – not only has it opened its 200th store, but the brand new Boxer Nonkqubela, in Khayelitsha, represents Boxer’s very first store in the Fairest Cape. Now the Pugilistic One can justly lay claim to the title of National Retailer, in keeping with parent company Pick n Pay’s strategy of turning the chain  into a fully-fledged national brand. Boxer Nonkqubela has a sharp and snappy layout making it easier for customers and their families to stock up on everything from fresh fruit & veg to household essentials in what they themselves have called “(South) Africa’s favourite discount supermarket”. And rounding off the one-stop shopping experience, it will provide Capetonians with the opportunity to make third-party payments, buy electricity or airtime, withdraw money at the ATM or at the tills etc. etc. etc.

Comment: Congratulations, and we’re looking forward to see where Boxer will bob and weave its way to next.

Tatler Reporter 30/11/15

Boxer Stores  Boxing Clever

Five years ago, to the relief of suppliers and shareholders alike, the Pick n Pay Group made its move towards centralised distribution. Now Boxer, the rising star in the Group, has jumped on board with both feet, opening a 10 000m2 warehouse in Cato Ridge, just up the N3 from head office in Westville. The new facility is their second foray into warehousing – the first was a very successful 4500m2 shed in Prospecton – and was designed and built entirely according to Boxer’s own specs, with room aplenty for shelves over 13m tall and space for 14000 pallets. The DC runs an automated replenishment system with a nominated order day for stores from a set range, picking and packing immediately, ensuring next day delivery, or a delay of one day for stores in the Eastern Cape. And excitingly, an IT system geared up to control the approximately 1,1 million cases of stock; plus 30 shiny red branded DC trucks to service its KZN & EC stores. Comment: Excellent news and a big step for an exciting business.

Comment: Excellent news and a big step for an exciting business.

Tatler Reporter 03/11/15

Boxer  Radio gaga

Boxer Superstores, which over the past difficult few years has been something of a jewel in the Pick n Pay crown, is launching a bold new ad campaign which promises to be the first of its kind in SA retail. To get its message across, “We Speak Low Prices” utilises the trusty vehicle of wireless radio, still the medium of choice for the overwhelming majority of South Africans. The campaign also features a competition, “What’s the Low Price?”, by which listeners are rather cleverly induced to have in their hands a copy of the latest Boxer broadsheet before they can successfully compete. And, this being 2015, and social media being cheap, the whole shebang will be rounded off with a presence on the likes of Facebook. 
Comment: A clever, pragmatic and no doubt cost effective use of all media, from the basic leaflet on up. Go Boxer.

Tatler Reporter 21/04/15

Pick n Pay  Ring, ring, kerching!

In a move so brilliant it begs asking, “Why didn’t they think of it before?”, Pick n Pay and MTN have announced a new partnership to bring low-cost banking to SA’s unbanked. Our story really starts all the way back in the summer of 2012, a time when we were young and free, and the two launched the Mobile Money platform, allowing customers to transfer money securely, and buy goods in PnP and Boxer stores using nothing more than their cell phones – no cash or a debit card required. Apparently 2million customers have made use of Mobile Money since then, so that’s 2million souls who will be thrilled to hear that they can now get their very own VISA Mobile Money debit card to use at a host of other retail stores too. But wait, there’s more (just ‘cos they can)… By activating the new Pick n Pay SIM card (powered by MTN of course) and registering for Mobile Money, customers will be able to access their accounts easily, conveniently, securely and cheaply from their mobile phones, as well as get 10% extra airtime when they top up at Pick n Pay and Boxer stores.
Comment: And with 8 million unbanked South Africans out there to reign in, who’s stopping them now? 25/06/14

Pick n Pay  Bricks and clicks and picks and … oh, shut up

More good news from the Big Blue, who last week turned in what passes for a tidy set of results in these straitened times. This time it’s their online food business, where sales are up 27% in the past year, with 2,000 deliveries per week. These numbers outperform those gathered by World Wide Worx, which recorded a 7% increase in online grocery shopping for a similar period. Other news of note to the technically-inclined PnP punter, is their Mobile Money service, launched in 2010, a means of transferring cash securely to your folks back home as well as shopping wallet-free in PnP and Boxer stores. With their deepening partnership with MTN, The Big Blue will now be able to offer a range of new Mobile Money services, including higher-value transactions and daily cash withdrawals, a couple of card options and access to Smart Shopper benefits.
Comment: Impressive, the way that PnP have sailed apparently unperturbed above two solid years of dickering criticism from the pundits and are showing every evidence of emerging on the other side stronger, more innovative and indeed more profitable.

Business Tech 15/04/14

Trade Intelligence  If you have a moment…

Loathe as we are to toot on our own brass instrument … in fact, what the heck, yay us. Trade Intelligence, which publishes this august periodical, is proud to announce the addition of a new feature on our website: ten searching questions, and their no doubt illuminating answers, with various respected, influential or even controversial industry figures – leaders, visionaries, thinkers and doers alike. First up is Eugene Stoop, the quietly successful MD of Boxer, who is doing a stellar job of clearly defining this juggernaut company and entrenching their position within the retail industry as a worthy contender. Next up: Cobus Rossouw, Chief Integration Officer at Imperial Logistics and one of SA’s leading lights in the supply chain industry.
Comment: These insightful pieces will change the way you think about business in our exciting and challenging market

Tatler Reporter 27/01/14

Trade Intelligence  If you have a moment…

Loathe as we are to toot on our own brass instrument … in fact, what the heck, yay us. Trade Intelligence, which publishes this august periodical, is proud to announce the addition of a new feature on our website: ten searching questions, and their no doubt illuminating answers, with various respected, influential or even controversial industry figures – leaders, visionaries, thinkers and doers alike. First up is Eugene Stoop, the quietly successful CEO of Boxer, who is transforming an unassuming Cash and Carry brand into a continental retail force. Next up: Cobus Rossouw, Chief Integration Officer at Imperial Logistics and one of SA’s leading lights in the supply chain industry.
Comment: These insightful pieces will change the way you think about business in our exciting and challenging market.

Tatler Reporter 27/01/14

Boxer Superstores  Some valuable real estate

Visitors to the Trade Intelligence website today will find an exciting new feature under the Boxer Superstore section of the Trade Profiles. This is the Boxer Superstore Investor Relations page, a collection of material for those who wish to find out more about one of SA’s most dynamic and innovative retailers. The page contains links to a number of valuable resources, including the latest media releases, stories and sound bites, as well as the Boxer Trade Profile itself. “We have got a great story to tell,” says Boxer Marketing Director Andrew Mills, “And we want to share it with our friends and stakeholders – like our suppliers, property developers who are looking at Boxer as a possible anchor tenant, and the media itself.” 
Comment: To have a look at this feature, click here.

Tatler Reporter 23/05/13

Boxer  Coming out swinging

Boxer, who have not often graced these columns in the past, are having something of a run of it these days, in part because the business itself is going such great guns. Last week some of our staff attended the launch of their EasyCover Funeral Plan, a JV with Nedbank and a typically Boxer initiative, which allows punters to insure up to 15 family members, with payments ranging from R14.90 to R82 per month. Nedbank, you will be interested and probably surprised to learn, now strategically views Boxer as its best channel into the mass market and this venture cements its tradition as the first bank to go seriously into the retail sector, again with preferred partner Pick n Pay. After the launch, our bright-eyed young cub reporters visited the venerable Mpumalanga suburb Boxer in KZN, now undergoing a revamp, and not before time, with both Pick n Pay and SPAR setting up shop, as it were, in the hood.
Comment: Simple, innovative, relevant. Vintage Boxer.

Tatler Reporter 04/02/13

Boxer  Fighting fit

Having begun life as a handful of privately-owned retail-wholesale hybrid stores in the bucolic retreats of KZN, Boxer Superstores has evolved to fast become a retail model of How It Is Done, and the rough-hewn gem in the Pick n Pay crown right about now. And if by some slim chance they were not yet significantly on your radar, how’s this, they’ve just opened their 150th store, having cut the ribbon on 20 new stores in 2012 alone. One of the reasons for their success – and perhaps for the slightly below the radar nature of their impressive growth – has been their strong local focus, as a brand which both courts and supports the communities in which its stores are located, spending millions over the years on bringing a relevant value for money offering, on the donation of staple foods, services and funds to those in most need, and tens of millions on community initiatives through its willingness to evolve the brand to the ever changing needs of all South African shoppers.
Comment: And all this at arm’s length from the mothership, which gives them a lot of latitude to keep on doing well what they’re doing right.

Tatler Reporter 29/01/13

Boxer  We are young

Boxer Superstores, which is one of the brighter stars in the Pick n Pay firmament, is once again doing its bit for the youth of South Africa, sending 45 of them from all over the country on its annual Youth Leadership Programme, held each April in Zinkwazi on the KZN coast. Boxer, as you may know, have a particularly active and relevant programme of community engagement.

Tatler Reporter 15/01/13

Pick n Pay  Hello? Hello-oh?

Rumour has it that Pick n Pay, which has dipped a periodic toe in the turbid waters of banking, is soon to launch a mobile-only bank with MTN. Boxer are evidently a major part of the deal, which is being launched as a JV under a brand called Tyme, as spotted on a website which popped up and then was mysteriously taken down, like some rare flower that blooms briefly, and is gone with the morning dew. Intriguing, stay posted. 15/11/12

Pick n Pay  Throwing punches

As our man Winston remarked during the dark days of the recent unpleasantness, this is not the end, nor yet the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. PnP having secured no fewer than 225 retail sites are about to embark on one of the biggest store opening sprees in South African history. The sites are located all over the show, in townships, suburbs and rural areas, and 119 of them will be opened by the retail division, with the remaining being Boxers, Boxer Punches and Express forecourt stores. The danger in painting the neighbourhood blue, of course, lies in the cannibalisation of existing stores or coming up short against more established competitors, although by and large the pundits seem to think this strategy, if the execution is sound, is the right way to go.
Comment: It is to be profoundly hoped, if you are a shareholder, that the market share horse has not already bolted from the Pick n Pay stable.

Business Report 05/11/12

Boxer  Sons of the soil

Amid the sunblasted stone and aloe ferox in rural northern KwaZulu, small farmers are wresting a living from the begrudging soil thanks in no small part to Pick n Pay’s Boxer Superstores Limited, which has been quietly establishing an unassailable presence in these sorts of areas for well over a decade. Part of Boxer’s mission has been to forge strong ties with local communities, through CSI initiatives, the sponsorship of local teams and other big hearted activities. Now it’s getting 10 community gardens with about 150 members onboard to provide fresh produce to Boxer stores in Nkandla, Nqutho, Eshowe, Hluhluwe, Melmoth and Jozini. These gardens have been brought along in part by the Ackerman Pick n Pay Foundation and Siyazisiza Trust, which promotes food security and small enterprise development in marginalised communities, by providing start-up equipment, training and mentorship.
Comment: Good work, that sport-themed rural, urban and peri-urban retailer!

Farmers’ Weekly 22/03/12

Developments  Can we fix it?

It’s a slow news week when we give Bob the Builder a look in, but in this instance the retail developments in question are of some significance, so here goes. First up, Pick n Pay who flushed with the success of Posh Store on Nicol are partnering with Atterbury to open another green supermarket, this time on the site of the driving range on Hendrik Potgieter in Roodepoort. The Falls Pick n Pay will feature exceptional fresh foods, more imported lines than any other Pick n Pay and specialist ranges unique to flagship stores, a restaurant, liquor store, wine boutique and cheese room, you name it. Next up Makro, who are for the first time dipping their toe into the bracing waters of the Free State with a brand new Makro, at the junction of the N1 and the N8 in western Bloemfontein, in partnership with the Moolman Group and Nedbank Corporate Property Finance, which is putting up the R170 large for the project, which when complete will attract shoppers from all over the province and from Lesotho. Finally, Boxer will be the anchor tenant for an eight-store mall being developed by Imperium in Duncan Village, previously unserviced with respect to modern retail, in the Eastern Cape, a Boxer stronghold.
Comment: As we observed recently, if the measure of a nation’s health is the strength of its retail sector...

Tatler Reporter 06/03/12

Pick n Pay  It’s all about the kerching, kerching

Pick n Pay have got into the money-transfer game, partnering with BankservAfrica to enable unbanked customers to transfer money to each other. The Money Transfer System (MTS) was launched in 550 Pick n Pays and Boxers in October and has been growing at 20% every month since. It’s currently the cheapest way of sending money home in the RS of A in keeping with The Big Blue’s present modus of doing it late but doing it well.

CBN 19/01/12

Pick n Pay  The fine (foot)print

Pick n Pay’s recent press has been mixed, as the expression goes if the expressor is in a kindly mood, with trading margin down from 2.8% to 1.8%, territory into which few of our major retailers ever venture, trading profit down 32%, and much trumpeted market share losses to its competitors beyond the quivering folds of the Boerewors curtain. But all is far from lost as one set of significant numbers makes clear: the store numbers. Ever elusive, constantly shifting, they nevertheless tell a powerful story: four new corporate supermarkets opened in the current FY, five franchise supermarkets, 14 corporate liquor stores, six franchise liquor stores and nine clothing stores. Three Family Store franchises were converted to corporate stores, and Boxer opened four new superstores, six Punch stores, a Boxer Build and a liquor store. And according to Mr B, plans are on the worn but sturdy old boardroom table for nine new supermarkets (six corporate and three franchise), a dozen liquor stores, six clothing stores, and nine Boxer superstores as well as three Punch stores.
Comment: Although new DCs are on hold until Longmeadow is ticking along more smoothly...

CBN 07/11/11

Pick n Pay  And in other news

Pick n Pay has scooped a hatful of awards at the African Access National Business Awards, taking home the Environmental Social Governance (ESG) prize and the Innovation Through Technology award. Boxer Superstores’ Marketing Director Andrew Mills took home the Top Performing Businessman of the Year award. Mills was recognised for his dedication to the brand, the enthusiasm he shows in the way he interacts with all staff and the company’s customers, as well as his business resilience, upright ethics and love for everything he does. One of his recent coups for the brand was the series of Diski Imbizo fan parks Boxer ran during the World Cup last year.
Comment: Nice one, PnP, especially you, Boxer.

Tatler Reporter 30/06/11

Boxer Superstores  Red carpet time

Pick n Pay subsidiary Boxer Superstores are finalists in three categories of the African Access Business Awards, South Africa’s business Oscars. The nominations are for the Customer Focus Award, the Marketing Excellence Award and the Top Performing Businessman of The Year Award, for which Marketing Director Andrew Mills has received the nod. Nice work from a business which leads at the lower-end of the market where others are just beginning to follow.

Tatler Reporter 15/06/11

Awards  Mwah, Mwah!

The Times/Sowetan Retail Awards results are out, and the big winner is Shoprite, who took gold in all five categories in the grocery section, viz: overall customer experience, supermarkets and hypermarkets, and stores used for daily, weekly and monthly shopping. Economies of scale did not hurt the Big Red One, which now claims 16 million individuals frequent the stores under the actual Shoprite brand. Second was of course Pick n Pay, third SPAR, forth Checkers, and in a very creditable fifth, Boxer Superstores. TOPS at SPAR won hands down in liquor, pipping Ultra and Pick n Pay for the honour, and claiming that the recession turned out not to apply to them at all. The Awards are run by TNS Research Surveys, who canvas a range of punters for their views on the subject.
Comment: Awards eh. Where would the PR ladies be without them. And the gents, of course.

Tatler Reporter 11/10/10

Boxer  So wave your flag!

The Boxer Superstores Diski Imbizo’s, Public Viewing Areas (PVAs) developed by the retailer with the support of municipalities around the country, have proved an enormous success, outstripping initial attendance predictions by a whopping 228%. For the Mexico Bafana game which kicked off the cup, 204,485 fans attended the 18 Imbizos in areas around the country where Boxer has stores, with 24,000 people at each of the best-attended events in Sedibeng and Tzaneen. Boxer, which is building a powerful retail brand on its wholehearted involvement with the communities it serves, has been particularly impressed with the participation of local and provincial government, especially in KZN, where ten of the PVAs have been set up. The venues feature vast screens and stonking sound systems, plus performances by local bands and DJs.
Comment: Thanks to initiatives such as this, a feature of the World Cup has been that its magic, pageantry and unity have been available in one way or another to almost every South Africa. Awesome stuff.

Tatler Reporter 07/07/10

Boxer  For the fans

Boxer Superstores is running a series of fan events to celebrate the World Cup and reward its loyal customers. Customers spending more than R50 over the period will gain access on presentation of their till slip to Public Viewing Areas (PVAs) nationwide, located in close proximity to the stores, and packed to the rafters with big screen TVs and loads of gees. Trade Intelligence has been invited – we’ll be running a special report, so watch this space!

Tatler Reporter 26/05/10

Capitec  It’s all about the benjamins

Capitec, who do the back-end for retailers allowing punters to draw cash at the tillpoint, are waiving their R1 withdrawal fee at various retailers for the next three months, including Pick n Pay, Checkers, Shoprite, Pep, Boxer and various SPARs. This to encourage Mrs Shopper to draw cash at the safe, well-lit till rather than the shady ATM, where all manner of muggers and scammers are champing to relieve her of her hard-earned. The upside for retailers here is that they’re able to channel their cash overflows back to the consumer, rather than having loads of the tempting stuff on hand to be filched from them, either by robbers or the banks who charge exorbitant deposit fees.
Comment: A win-win situation, as the expression goes.

The Times 10/05/10

Boxer  Charity begins at home

Boxer is one of several retailers and cash n carrys to benefit from the patronage of the eBuhleni faction of the Nazareth Baptist Church, also known as Shembe. The faction has 5 million members and has lined up a number of businesses which offer discounts ranging from 5-15% to members, who in these difficult times sorely need them. The programme works through membership cards which double as loyalty cards, with – and here’s the cunning part – a percentage of the discount going back to the church. A win-win-win, in other words. Other businesses involved include McCarthy Toyota KZN, Build-It and Browns Cash n Carry.
Comment: A business model which could have been designed in Rome. Nice one.

Business Report 17/02/10

Pick n Pay  Giving it 120%

New Pick n Pay stores which have been converted from the Score trading brand are growing sales at an average of 34%, according to the Big Blue’s Franchise Director, Chris Reed. Since the start of the conversion programme – and the numbers don’t necessarily add up – 52 stores have been converted, 19 to Boxers. 40 have been sold to third parties as franchises, 10 of them in Botswana to a master franchise holder for conversion to Pick n Pays, and 14 have been closed outright. While individual turnover appears to go up when a Score converts to a Pick n Pay, the overall numbers are unclear. Pick n Pay set a target of R2 billion in turnover for Score conversions, but isn’t saying whether the target was met.
Comment: The Score conversions must be a worry for Shoprite, who for a few heady years enjoyed first-mover advantage in previously disadvantaged areas.

Business Day 27/01/10

Pick n Pay  The hot seat

Pick n Pay’s turnover for the six months ended August ’09 increased 12.3% to R26.6 billion, although gross margin was down to 18.6% from 18.8% last year, with trading profit margin down 0.1% to 2.8%. Turnover at Boxer and Pick n Pay stores was up by a pleasing 15.3%, resulting in a market share gain of 0.4%. And in other news, the Chairman has announced that he will retire in March next year, to be replaced in a non-exec capacity by Gareth Ackerman, who has grown up in the business, having served in almost every capacity from store manager to MD most of his life, in addition to running his own business in corporate finance. Raymond Ackerman listed the business in 1968; if you had invested R100 back then, you would be sitting on a tidy R1 million right now.
Comment: A lion of South African business takes a well-earned stretch under a cool acacia. What a career.

Tatler Reporter 21/10/09