Africa’s Favourite Discount Supermarket brand Boxer Superstores has recently opened its 300th store showcasing the progressive growth it has enjoyed despite the challenges of a toughening economic climate over the years through to the effects of a current global pandemic that has brought with it loss of personal household income and escalating levels of unemployment, job losses and retrenchment.
Boxer, which originally traded as KwaZulu Cash & Carry in 1977, began its journey in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal. Over forty three years later Boxer Superstores trades across nine provinces in South Africa, and was acquired by the Pick n Pay Stores Ltd 18 years ago. “It has been an incredible journey that has seen us evolving our business to the number of stores we have today,” says Boxer Managing Director Marek Masojada. “Despite any setback that this country has faced over the years we have been resilient in our conscientious efforts in order to attain this recent 300 store milestone achievement. Something all 20,000 of my staff are really proud of,” he added. The discount supermarket, which includes three divisions, Boxer Superstores, Boxer Build and Boxer Liquors has strategically opened its stores in its quest to serve the growing middle-to-lower income shopper.
Founded on the principles that shoppers deserve a “price-fighting champion of the people”, a relevant curated range that is aligned to the shopper base it serves and coupled with good customer service; Boxer’s rapid growth throughout South Africa and the Kingdom of eSwatini is attributed to a mix of shopper focussed and unique advertising offerings. Serving shoppers in urban, peri-urban and rural communities sees Boxer hosting a spectrum of shoppers in its aisles from civil servants, to salaried workers, self-employed individuals through to SASSA grantees. Boxer also has the ability to operate across different trading formats, both as a destination standalone store through to anchoring major shopping malls across Southern Africa. The success of this self-positioned “Africa’s Favourite Discount Supermarket” is underpinned by its irrefutable brand positioning: “Never pay more than the Boxer price.”
“We truly understand the privilege we have in being able to evolve our stores to match and even surpass what our shoppers expect from us. There is no 100 Rand note with a Boxer logo printed on it that can only be spent in one of our stores. It is our shopper who decides what supermarket is offering the best deals all under one roof. And every day, when we open our doors, we owe it to ourselves to be top of our shoppers’ minds so that they choose Boxer as their supermarket of choice” adds Andrew Mills, Marketing Director for the business.
Boxer offers an array of supermarket goods based on a curated range including commodities, groceries, health & beauty through to general merchandise. Bolstering the offering is its cornerstone service departments: in-store bakery, butchery, hot foods deli and fruit & veg. Coupled with a Money Kiosk, offering shoppers value-added services from data top up and airtime, account payments through to playing the Lotto. A bank of ATMs lined up in-store, are also complemented by over 106 Nedbank@Boxer branches, as well as Hollard branches across stores.
Support equals success
The expansion of Boxer’s footprint has continued in earnest, underpinned by the fact that there are hundreds of other towns and cities across South Africa where a Boxer store could comfortably trade. Says Masojada “We have a systematic development programme in place which sees us growing our effective supply chain and ultimately lowering our cost to serve, while boosting our product availability on shelf for the quantities of stock that our shopper base demands from us. We will be opening our Polokwane distribution centre later this year to complement our three other Distribution Centres in East London, Lanseria and outside Pietermaritzburg. In addition we have a specialist Meat Factory based in Northern KwaZulu-Natal that provides affordable protein-based meat products across our trading brands.”
A crucial element to the brand is its efforts to uplift communities which are served by stores. Under the mantle of Boxer’s Ubuntu Projects the company has for over four decades actively re-invested into uplifting communities through “pillars of need” across welfare, health, education, small business development through to forging closer ties with the police stations across the country. Affected by the global Covid-19 pandemic, Boxer has also played an instrumental role in being a destination of choice for NPOs, Foundations, organisations through to investors who have partnered with Boxer to assemble food hampers for needy households at this time. “We have worked relentlessly to be ready and deliver every order that has come our way. In addition, Boxer has launched its Hunger Relief Programme that will see over R2 million worth of food hampers being donated across the footprint in which we trade. We continue our quest in being the Community Champion of choice for the communities that we serve in” added Mills.
Positive results and the future
The recent Pick n Pay financials revealed Boxer’s position as a strong division within the Group, with Pick n Pay’s CEO Richard Brasher complimenting the efforts and growth of Boxer over the past year in particular. The brand remains resolute in its purpose and, with over 20,000 staff members, a host of innovations and a unique selling point, a continued rise is expected from the Boxer business. “We will continue to grow and expand in areas where the company knows it serves the needs of communities,” added Masojada.
Caption: Earlier in 2020, pre-Lockdown, Boxer’s Head Office staff gathered on the roof of their Westville Headquarters to celebrate the 300 milestone achievement.