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Ancora
Watch our full interview with Joburg Today as we chat about Umphakathi Mall, Randfontein. 

We focus on shopping centres across South Africa, and we’ve always been specialising in the township / rural areas, where we see a massive opportunity for the future of developments. Umphakathi started off as a piece of  empty land, we found an opportunity to speak to the tenants and found that Boxer and Pick n Pay were interested in shop space, then found a developer that wanted to purchase this piece of land and we ended up working with the architects, the Quantity Surveyors, tenants, the municipality, taxi ranks as well as the local community to put the scheme together. “Umphakathi Mall” Actually means community. 

Townships are very interesting, there is a lack of basic services, and there is often a lot of people, the population size is massive, and the people in these areas are underestimated, there is buying power, there is money being sent home, and what we find is there are massive opportunities waiting and all they need is someone to put the link together. Developing property as a whole has a lot of risks, we often work up to 3 years on a development before we know that it’s being built. 

Our hearts behind it, is to understand the community need, we need to understand what brands and shops they are looking for and then we put the puzzle pieces together. 

Click here to watch the full interview: Joburgtoday
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Diminishing footfall and growing vacancies are increasingly the reality for many major shopping malls in cities such as Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

 

But demand in rural and underserved areas, such as townships, is proving to be a new golden opportunity.

 

That’s why in 2018, Ancora Property Group and MET Developments took the bold move to break ground and start development of the 14 000m²Umphakathi Mall in Randfontein, an old gold mining town 40km west of Johannesburg.

 

Despite recent challenges with the pandemic, the mall officially opened at the end of April 2021, and it is expected to hit 100% tenant capacity in the coming weeks.

Many will find it surprising that this new mall has opened in the middle of a pandemic, in a period that has had a big impact on the retail and commercial property sectors in South Africa.

 

However, Umphakathi Mall is a long-term play that will illustrate how pent-up demand and underserved consumers in our country’s outlying areas are the next big opportunities.

 

Gold has a new city

 

Randfontein is a town in the West Rand of Gauteng that owes its existence to gold, with mining activity having started in the area in the 1890s.

 

Over the last 130 years, Randfontein has undergone many changes, but, interestingly, retail has often been overlooked with a limited number of shopping options in the area.

 

That’s why we believe the site of the new Umphakathi Mall, which is situated off Main Reef Road (R28), will play an important role in the area’s economic upliftment. (The word Umphakathi also means ‘community’ in Zulu.)

 

The local community — which consists of just under 129 000 people and 38 000 households — largely comes from the adjacent townships of Mohlakeng and Toekomsrus. Up to 2 000 social housing units are currently being built along the R599 road, while an additional 3 000 units are expected to be added in the next 24 months.

 

At Umphakathi Mall, we encourage retailers to employ 40% – 60% of the local community, and we believe strongly in youth and women empowerment. Already, in excess of 6 500 CVs have been received from the community for job placements at several of the mall’s outlets.

 

In addition, the mall has a mix of retailers that cater to the area’s needs, including the likes of Pick ‘n Pay, Boxer, OBC Butchery, Mr Price, Ackermans, Pep, Russells, Sleepmasters, a KFC drive-through, and Cashbuild.

 

Furthermore, the mall is equipped with its own fibre internet and solar energy infrastructure. We’ve also worked with the local municipality to build a new taxi rank and, in future, there will also be a filling station that will make it a prominent transport node.

 

At Ancora Property Group we have many exciting and unique future developments that include the likes of Vryburg Mall and Autumn Leaf Mallin the North West province, the Leseli Neighbourhood Mall in Lesotho, among many others. These are set to join Ancora Property Group’s other existing centres such as Steeledale Mall, Parkdene Junction and Fourways Gardens in Johannesburg, as well as others like Menlyn Maine in Tshwane and Maerua Mall in Windhoek, Namibia.

 

Meryl Bessesar, Director at Ancora Property Group, says:I strongly believe that Umphakathi Mall will show the way forward on how we can make our economy more inclusive in South Africa. In the future, one won’t have to move to cities to experience the benefits of convenient, quality retail. High quality shopping centres will exist in many more areas in our country and, in turn, will boost these towns’ and our country’s economic prospects going forward”.

 

Moegamat Behardien, Managing Director at MET Developments, says: “When it comes to Umphakathi Mall, we’ve gone the extra mile in ensuring that everybody in the community can benefit. That’s why from day one, we’ve been holding regular meetings with community members as well as putting forward commitments for locals to be employed by retailers at the mall. We’ve also received great support from the local municipality and we’ve assisted in constructing a brand new taxi rank which will significantly improve transport in the area. Umphakathi Mall is a blueprint for future development in our country”

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Ancora
Kasper Rorsted, chief executive officer of Adidas AG, gestures while speaking during a Bloomberg Television interview in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019.
Kasper Rorsted, chief executive officer of Adidas AG, gestures while speaking during a Bloomberg Television interview in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019.
Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Social media has made it easier for consumers to hold companies and CEOs accountable for their actions, and that’s a good thing, Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted told CNBC’s Sara Eisen at the CNBC Evolve Global Summit.

“I think that the scrutiny on companies and CEOs are much greater today. I think that part of the reason is social media is bringing a transparency and also a news flow out that was never there before,” Rorsted said. “It drives change, it drives responsibility, and it drives transparency.”

 

The scrutiny will force the fashion industry, which produces 8% to 10% of global carbon emissions, to become environmentally friendly, Rorsted said.

“This is only the beginning, but the impact plastic has on our global environment is so negative. And as a company that stands for something positive … we really want to make sure that that problem is tackled,” Rorsted said. “It’s so fundamental for companies to really help innovate and find solutions that address the environment, not to be disrupted for the future.”

Adidas has made strides to create sustainable products, including using ocean plastics in its shoes and vowing to make nine out of every 10 products sustainable by 2025.

“I don’t mean this disrespectfully, but European companies — maybe due to regulation — have tended to be ahead,” Rorsted said. “We see ourselves as a leader in sustainability, but we actually welcome everybody who has taken a step forward.”

The company partnered with Allbirds to create shoes with a low carbon footprint, largely due to the rival shoemaker’s success with creating sustainable products at a low cost, which has been a challenge for Adidas. Allbirds uses materials such as merino wool, recycled bottles and cardboard and castor bean oil to manufacture its shoes.

“They’ve done, been doing a great job on certain elements of innovation. We can bring the footwear expertise into it, which they probably had to a lesser extent,” Rorsted said. “Succeeding in sustainability is more important than, you know, competing with each other.”

Later this summer, Adidas will be releasing its classic Stan Smith shoe using a leather derived from mycelium, the fibrous root structure of mushrooms. The company anticipates it will be very popular.

“We have done a recent survey; 70% of our consumers prefer to buy sustainable products. So I think there’s going to be a great demand for this product,” Rorsted said.

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(Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)
(Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)
 
The news of Zara-owner Inditex’s plans to close more than 1000 stores around the world, caused much panic on the internet in 2020. Not to mention, the thought of threatened livelihoods of Zara employees.

However, there was more to the story than meets the headline, as the scheduled store closures around the world are said to be in favour of a transition to e-commerce. Reassuringly for us, The Guardian also reported that “closures are expected to be concentrated in Asia and Europe.” 

Reuters reported that Inditex, booked its first quarterly loss as the coronavirus crisis forced it to shut most shops, but its shares rose after it unveiled a 2.7 billion euro plan to accelerate its focus on large stores and online sales. This is after the Spanish company was forced to shut almost 90 percent of its stores from February to April 2020.

Inditex aims to focus on its online business and large stores in prime shopping areas while closing around 1000 of its smaller stores. It expects virtual sales to account for more than a quarter (25 percent) of business by 2022, compared to their current 14 percent. Larger stores will therefore act as distribution hubs for online sales.  

This is why Zara is currently refurbishing and enlarging its flagship store at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town in order to make it the brand’s newest concept store in South Africa, offering a fully integrated experience with www.zara.com.   

There are currently eight Zara stores in South Africa, a Zara Home store at the Mall of Africa, in addition to the Spanish retailer being available online to local shoppers since 2019 – eight years after establishing a presence in the country.

So in line with Zara’s commitment to South Africa, the brand is investing in this high quality, digitalised and differentiated store – by expanding the store to approximately 2700 square meters – to feature the latest sustainability and technological developments of its integrated store and online sales platform. 

This extended store is being designed according to the brand’s new global concept, highlighting flowing curved lines that enable continuous engagement with the fashions on display. Zara boasts that it can be described in three words; “simple, sophisticated and refined.”

Sleek white surface running across the ceilings and walls are the interior notes that will create a backdrop that enhances each collection. The Zara team further reveals that their refurbished store will be a “warm and natural environment with pockets of greenery which represent the idiosyncrasy of the brand linked to the type of product and its sustainability standards, inviting customers to enjoy a holistic shopping experience.” 

Inditex books $513 million first-quarter profit

Spanish retail giant Inditex reported a first-quarter net profit of 421 million euros ($513 million) on Wednesday, a number that easily beat analysts’ expectations but was still a third below pre-pandemic levels.

Zara’s sustainability efforts see the Spanish retailer continue to execute their environmental transformation plan – having met their 2020 target to make all their stores eco-efficient. This new space is therefore connected to the company’s central energy efficiency control system, Inergy. 

In addition to this, part of the furnishings are made from biomass and new areas are will be allocated for cardboard and gently worn clothing to be recycled.

But that’s not all. 

The in-store Customer Experience areas will offer new convenience spaces such including a showroom and a fitting room waiting area. So maybe a little something like this? 

Zara shop in Preciados street in Madrid, Spain. (P
Zara shop in Preciados street in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Cristina Arias/Cover/Getty Images) 

Add to that, a fully fitted Beauty section similar to the likes of its retail counterparts; Woolworths, Edgars, Foschini, and Truworths. This new Beauty section will offer shoppers a unique immersive experience complete with personalised beauty advice.

Shoppers can experience this Beauty section on the ground floor singled out by colour-matching flooring, walls and ceilings, in contrast with the stainless steel trays that highlight the new product lines developed in collaboration with Diane Kendal. 

Here, we detail 6 more retail innovations and re-entries we’ve seen over the 2020/2021 period:  

Hi there, StyleMode

The need to reconsider outdated business models made itself apparent in retail long before Covid-19, which is probably why StyleMode considered 2020 a time ripe as any to open up (virtual) shop in SA last October.  

Powered by Loot.co.za – SA’s new fashion e-tailer, StyleMode – instead of dipping a toe in, is taking a dive into waters that are already warm, given the stats of our bubbling online retail industry.

They entered the market with a range of brands across apparel, footwear, accessories and a plus-size range – all at a price point that will suit most pockets in our country’s economy.

READ MORE: SA welcomes a new online fashion portal as brick-and-mortar retail ebbs and eCommerce flows     

An EGG-citing innovation 

Born with a vision to “reimagine retail,” a 2 700-square-metre space – EGG – opened at Cavendish Square in Claremont, Cape Town, housing 250 local and international brands across the categories of fashion, beauty, living, streetwear and sneakers, accessories and jewellery, and even food.   

The store promises shoppers a unique, “phygital” omni-channel experience.  

As reported by BizCommunity, the next three years will see three more EGG stores launch in South Africa – one at The Zone @ Rosebank and Bedford Centre in Johannesburg, and another at Gateway Mall in Durban. 

A first for South Africa

Chanel unveiled its new fragrance and beauty boutique at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town in December 2020. 

Dedicated to fragrance, makeup and skincare, this boutique brings Chanel Beauty into a new dimension for South Africa, reinforcing the ties between the House and its clients.

The 61sqm space will feature the first standalone pop-up concept for South Africa, and was projected to expand to 106sqm in 2021. This year, Sandton City has since welcomed the second Chanel Beautique in the country.

READ MORE: Chanel unveils its first-ever perfume and beauty boutique in SA at the V&A Waterfront

GAP returns to South Africa

Launching in the country’s largest shopping center, Gap opened its doors on 26 November 2020 at the Mall of Africa with the brand’s Summer and Fall collections for men, women, kids, toddlers, and infants. 

“Since we exited the market in 2017, it has been a priority to evaluate future partnerships for Gap in South Africa and to restore confidence in our loyal Gap customer base. By partnering with Hyvec Group, we are opening an exciting chapter in our growth strategy and are incredibly energised about what the future holds,” said Roy Hunt, SVP of Inc. Franchise & Strategic Alliances.    

After the store opening in Mall of Africa, the Hyvec Group plans to carry out a sustained national growth plan with additional store openings in South Africa, as well as the Bagatelle Mall in Mauritius.  

Welcome back, MANGO 

While South Africa has been lamenting a potential retail apocalypse since the likes of Stuttafords, River Island, Nine West, Topshop, and the Platinum Group stores all shut their doors for good and left our malls, it would appear Spanish retailer, MANGO, had been doing some work to cement a return to SA.  

Fast forward some three years later, and MANGO is a standalone store on our shores once again. 

While it’s unclear as to why exactly the fashion retailer returned to Mzansi, with their revival, the brand is consolidating its presence in Africa, where MANGO is present with 52 retail outlets, four of which are megastores. 

Welcome, Desigual

Founded in Barcelona, Spain in 1984, Desigual – in a rather optimistic move – opened its doors in Sandton City for the very first time in SA, in September 2020.

Desigual’s first store in South Africa carries collections from the Woman, Accessories and Shoes categories. As has been the norm since the launch of the new brand image in 2019, Desigual is using this store to showcase its new corporate identity and shopping experience. 

As the Spanish fashion brand’s Channels Director Jordi Balsells explains; “The South African market has an intriguing potential for growth. The qualities of our collections, such as the vibrant colours, the diversity of the materials and the uniqueness of the designs, match a style that will resonate with local consumers and which, combined with the Desigual DNA, has the potential to build a very strong connection with customers. 

Desigual hopes to open a second store on our shores in the near future at the V&A Waterfront where the Zara flagship store and Chanel Beauty’s first-ever SA boutique are also located.

 

Additional information provided by Zara South Africa

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(Photo: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Pick n Pay, which has nearly 2,000 stores in South Africa, is a big user of exclusive lease agreements. It is the latest retailer to agree with the Competition Commission and Competition Tribunal to end the use of exclusive lease agreements. This is good for the consumer.

 
 

For many decades, South Africa’s Big Four supermarket chains — Shoprite, Pick n Pay, Spar and Woolworths — prevented one another and smaller grocers from opening stores at a particular shopping mall to protect their turf, remain competitive and profitable. 

 

To do this, supermarket chains entered into exclusive lease agreements with shopping mall landlords, which paved the way for such chains to be the only seller of specific goods at malls, for as long as 30 years. 

 

Put differently, there couldn’t be more than two competing supermarket chains at some shopping malls. This was by design between supermarket chains and landlords, which disadvantaged consumers as they would have limited shopping choices. For landlords, the use of exclusive lease agreements was profitable as they would be guaranteed to keep supermarket chains as tenants for a long time. After all, supermarket chains take up large spaces at malls.

 

But the use of exclusive lease agreements by supermarket chains and shopping mall landlords is starting to end after the intervention of the Competition Commission. 

 

In 2019 the competition watchdog concluded an inquiry into competition dynamics in the grocery retail market and recommended that the use of exclusive lease agreements by the Big Four supermarket chains must cease with “immediate effect” and be phased out within five years. 

It found that the use of exclusive lease agreements is anti-competitive and in contravention of the Competition Act because they “hinder the emergence of challenger retail chains to the main four retailers and [have] also served to prevent economic participation by smaller independent retailers”. 

Smaller retailers that were mainly blocked from entering shopping malls and relegated to opening stores on the periphery of malls are Food Lovers Market, Fruit and Veg City, and Liquor City. 

Pick n Pay, a big user of exclusive lease agreements at shopping malls where its stores operate, recently agreed with the commission to end the use of such agreements. On Friday, 11 June, the Competition Tribunal, the body which has the final say on anti-competition matters in South Africa, confirmed the agreement between Pick n Pay and the commission. 

This means that supermarket chains that are small, independent and controlled by historically disadvantaged people can open stores at shopping malls where there is already a Pick n Pay store. 

According to the commission, Pick Pay, which had 1,933 stores (Pick n Pay and Boxer branded stores) across South Africa by February 2021, has agreed to phase out exclusive lease agreements with its landlords over six years, ending on 31 December 2026. Pick n Pay has also agreed to not sign new leases that include exclusive clauses for new stores that it plans to open. 

 

The agreement to end the use of exclusive agreements also applies to 761 Pick n Pay stores that are not owned by the retail giant, but are owned and operated by franchisees. 

“The commission has prioritised opening up markets by lowering barriers to entry and allowing SMMEs [small, medium and micro enterprises] and HDI [historically disadvantaged individuals] firms to have a fighting chance in the economy. This is the only sustainable way towards a growing and inclusive economy,” said Competition Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele on Monday.

Woolworths wasn’t found by the commission to be a big user of exclusive lease agreements. Meanwhile, other retailers have also scrambled to cancel exclusive lease agreements. 

Shoprite, which operates Shoprite-branded stores, Checkers and Usave, also agreed with the commission and tribunal in October 2020 to immediately stop enforcing exclusivity provisions in its lease agreements with landlords. This agreement applies to Shoprite-branded stores and others in its portfolio, including Checkers, OK Foods and Usave. DM/BM

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Ancora

Spur, traditionally a family dining restaurant, has a new addition: a drive-through outlet situated in Karenpark, Pretoria.

In a statement this week Spur said, the company had come up with new menu innovations including snack meals such as “tripchips”, handheld breakfasts as well as roadhouse-style desserts on-the-go especially for those who never want to leave their cars.

The restaurant also has most of the traditional Spur restaurant menu along with the special drive through offers.

Globally, the drive-through alternative has become restaurants’ saving grace during the era of social distancing, while sit-down restaurants generally struggle to attract patrons, even when lockdown rules allow them to operate freely.

As soon as we drove into the Spur complex, we caught a whiff of the food cooking, that Spur flame-grill smell.

spur
Spur’s new drive-through restaurant. (Image: Business Insider SA/Ntando Thukwana)
 

A the name implies, it was a fairly quick and easy process to get our hands on the food…

spur
Spur drive-through, Pretoria. (Business Insider SA/Ntando Thukwana)
 

…with the order – from paying to collecting it – taking just a little over four minutes.

Then we paid at the second window. (Image: Business Insider SA/Ntando Thukwana)
 

We were starved and wanted to dig into a big meal, one of Spur’s most loved, the T-bone steak with some onion rings and chips. But, we were told the option was not available on the drive-thu menu and that we’d have to dine-in for it.

The meat options available were pork ribs and chicken combos, and so we settled for Spur’s 400g pork ribs with vegetables and chips.

Spur
And then the food came. (Business Insider SA/Ntando Thukwana)
 
spur
Done in five minutes. (Image: Business Insider SA/Ntando Thukwana)
 

The vegetable order of butternut and spinach came hot in a takeaway box container….

spur
A side of butternut and spinach. (Image: Business Insider SA/Ntando Thukwana)
 

 

…and the ribs in a foil-lined brown packet to retain the heat. 

 
spur
400g pork ribs. (Business Insider SA/Ntando Thukwana)
 
sput
The ribs in a brown packet lined with foil to retain heat. (Image: Business Insider/Ntando Thukwana)
 
spur
We wished the ribs came in a container. (Image: Business Insider SA/Ntando Thukwana)
 

As soon as we opened the ribs, we wished they had come in a box takeaway container though; to make for easy, on-the-go eating.

Then we finally got a plate.

spur
Then we finally got a plate. (Image: Business Insider/Ntando Thukwana)
 

As promised, the menu did have options not available on the Spur sit down menu such as boerewors and hotdogs and a selection of to-go desserts like the choc brownie one we got. Over an hour later, the cream and chocolate sauces had not melted into each other.

We loved the dessert; it wasn’t overpowering in sweetness and made for easy eating, although, you’ll probably have to eat it using a spoon to get the brownie from the bottom of the cup.

 
spur
Choc brownie dessert for the road. (Image: Business Insider/Ntando Thukwana)
 

 

So how do the menus differ? You won’t find all the burgers, for one.

We thought the drive-thru menu had a wide enough range of food options, from breakfast and all-day burgers to meat combos and boerewors rolls. The kids are catered for too, although, not extensively.  

For committed red meat lovers, the menu might be tricky to select from though. You won’t find any of Spur’s steaks if you go via the drive-through option. Not the New York Sirloin, not the Cheesy Garlic Prawn Steak, not even a good old fillet cut.

But, it did have a full chicken combo and ribs, wings, and chicken combos.

For the burger enthusiasts, its quite a thin menu too, especially if you’re a fan of something more exciting like Spur’s Goodie Burger with a pineapple ring in the middle. 

spur
Spur drive-through menu. (Image: Business Insider/Ntando Thukwana)
 

 

The drive through menu only has five of the 19 burgers on the sit in menu. These are:

  • Spur Burger
  • Cheese
  • Cheese & Bacon
  • Beyond Burger
  • Cheddamelt/Peppermelt

We were excited to see new additions not available in the restaurants. The menu has specialty items such as boerewors rolls, cheese griller hotdogs, and a hake and chips meal.

spur
New hand held food items. (Image: Business Insider SA/Ntando Thukwana)
 

 

Overall, we rate the drive-through option highly given the convenience it comes with. It’s not everynday that you get a rack of ribs prepped in five minutes.

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It has been a tough year for the retail sector, and at some point, people were talking about a “retail apocalypse”. But the owner of Mdantsane City Shopping Centre says negativity around retail was misplaced. If anything, there are “exciting” times ahead.

During the presentation of the company’s annual results for the year ended on 31 March, Vukile Property Fund CEO Laurence Rapp said the upheavals that malls faced since the pandemic hit SA shores have brought a sense of “renaissance” to retailing. Instead of bringing malls to their knees, the pandemic ushered the industry into a new era with even greater possibilities.

Rapp said while many took a negative view predicting the end of brick-and-mortar shopping as people move online and mass tenant failures last year, tenants are still running their shops. Vukile’s vacancies have held steady, and shoppers are flocking back to brick-and-mortar stores.

“Every time a shopping centre has opened, every time restrictions were lifted the customers flocked back. Are we seeing a situation where shoppers are not going to come back? Where they’ll spend their lives sitting at home shopping online? I think we can say comfortably that hypothesis has been proved incorrect,” said Rapp.

Vukile has R33 billion worth of assets, of which 49% is in South Africa, and 51% is in Spain held through its Madrid listed subsidiary Castellana Property Socimi.  

In SA, it predominantly owns rural centres, high street retail buildings and township shopping malls whose customer footfall held steady throughout the pandemic because of their exposure to essential retailers like grocery supermarkets.

But Rapp said retail shopping data from across the globe shows that customers are flocking back to brick-and-mortar shopping regardless of where the malls are located.

“The general trend is that all shoppers are coming back to all shopping centres at different paces. The higher the pace, they’re coming back is probably a function of the nature of the shopping centre, where more convenience and localised centres are getting a higher footfall, whereas your bigger destination malls will take a bit more time to get feet coming back,” he said.

 

It’s not doom and gloom; it’s exciting

Rapp said while rapid changes are going on in the retail sector, no one knows the extent to which retail will return to its “old” normal. He thinks the new normal will retail a lot of the old normal.

What Vukile has observed in its local and Spanish operations is that while online shopping has grown, that did not happen at the exclusion of visiting physical stores.

“It’s online and offline. It’s the omnichannel world. That is a trend that’s now firmly established, and that is what the future of retail is going to look like,” he added.

Rapp said while generic data coming out shows that 91% of customers favour both online and in-store shopping, only 9% of consumers say that they’re only going to do online shopping in the future. He said even though more people dabbled in online retail for the first time, there has not been a fundamental structural shift in shopping patterns.

He pointed out estimates show an increased number of online shoppers during the lockdowns; online sales still make up only 2% of total retail sales in SA compared with 16% in the rest of the world. But even in Spain, where online shopping is more advanced than in SA, online sales penetration increased to only 8.7% from 6%, and data predicts that it will still be below 10% by 2025.

The company’s retail tenants also want shoppers back in the stores, indicating that online shopping has not been profitable. They’ve missed out on high-margin impulse purchases, and the delivery costs are eating into their bottom lines. So, Vukile is now investing heavily in technology to “digitally transform” its shopping centres.

 

“It does mean that we may come up with clever solutions in terms of maybe one delivery vehicle or delivery service from a shopping centre. Maybe there’ll be storage facilities in a shopping centre,” said Rapp.

He said the company is looking at how it can start using space available at malls for online fulfilment so that tenants won’t need separate warehouses and separate delivery infrastructure.

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The Competition Commission has prohibited a proposed takeover of Burger King in South Africa by an international private equity fund.

Last year, the struggling Grand Parade Investments announced that it would sell Burger King South Africa and Grand Foods Meat Plant, which primarily supplies Burger King with patties, to a fund owned by Emerging Capital Partners (ECP). ECP, which was founded in the US, is a private equity firm that focuses on African investments.

But the Competition Commission on Tuesday prohibited the transaction, objecting to the lack of black shareholding. 

“The Commission found that the merger would lead to a significant reduction in the shareholding of historically disadvantaged persons in the target firm, from more than 68% [empowerment shareholding in Grand Parade] to 0% as a result of the merger.”

While the Commission found that the proposed transaction is unlikely to have an impact on competition in SA, it said that historically disadvantaged persons (HDPs) won’t hold any ownership of Burger King SA following the deal.

“Thus, as a direct result of the proposed merger, the merged entity will have no ownership by HDPs and workers. The Commission is therefore concerned that the proposed merger will have a substantial negative effect on the promotion of greater spread of ownership.”

The commission says “the proposed transaction has raised significant public interest concerns in that it has a substantial negative effect on the promotion of a greater spread of ownership, in particular the levels of ownership by historically disadvantaged persons and workers in firms in the market.”

Burger King SA operates more than 90 fast-food restaurants across South Africa.

Grand Parade Investments, which also owns Grand West casino in Cape Town and stakes in other businesses, first announced the transaction in February last year.

The listed food and gaming empowerment group is buckling under a massive debt burden, due in part to its unsuccessful launch of US fast-food brands Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins in the country.

 

But by May it was forced to lower its sale price by 15% due to the impact of Covid-19, the company said.

The price for Burger King SA was cut from R670 million to R593 million, and the price for Grand Foods Meat Plant from R27 million to R23 million.

 

Grand Parade Investments acquired the South African master franchise for Burger King in 2012. 

Its share slumped by more than 5% following the Competition Commission’s announcement late on Tuesday.

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Dis-Chem CEO Ivan Saltzman.
Dis-Chem CEO Ivan Saltzman.
Deon Raath
 

Pharmacy retailer Dis-Chem has vaccinated more than 12 500 people at six sites in Gauteng during the first week of its Covid-19 inoculation rollout.

The rollout, which began last week, was off to a slow start but the numbers of people coming in for jabs increased on Thursday and Friday, the company said.

To assist with attendance, Dis-Chem has been forwarding automated SMS notifications from the Department of Health scheduling system as reminders to people scheduled to receive vaccinations at its sites.

Appointments are scheduled via the government’s electronic vaccine data system (EVDS) and people are supposed to be assigned to sites close to their homes.

Dis-Chem’s vaccination sites are not part of its pharmacies – but set up in separate parts of its Midrand head office as well as in dedicated spaces in the Centurion Mall, Mall of the South, Jabulani Mall, East Rand Mall and Fourways Mall.

The group’s CEO Ivan Saltzman encouraged eligible people over the age of 60 to register for vaccinations on the EVDS. 

“There is power in numbers and the quicker we can immunise more people, the quicker we will reach herd immunity and return to some sense of normality,” Saltzman said. 

Dis-Chem also warned that the supply of the vaccines could be constrained in the next few weeks.

 

South Africa is currently rolling out vaccinations for people over 60, but is racing against time to inoculate 67% of the population by the end of the year to achieve herd immunity.  

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Grocery retailer Woolworths has announced plans to open its first standalone liquor store – WCellar.

The first store will act as a standalone concept adjoining the food market of the Woolworths Nicolway branch in Bryanston, Johannesburg.

The aim is to open another WCellar store in the Gauteng region, with a view to rolling out to a national footprint in the future, the group said.

The initial store, which opens on 27 May, will offer a selection of wines, beers, craft beers, ciders and spirits.

“At Woolworths, we are constantly looking for ways to innovate and improve on our offering of quality products, so we’re really excited about the launch of the WCellar brand extension,” said Rebecca Constable, senior wine buyer for Woolworths.

“The selection of drinks has been carefully curated by our team of experts, and we’re confident that our customers won’t need, or want, to go anywhere else for their complete shop,” she said.

The move will see Woolworths competing with a number of other retailers which currently offer standalone liquor stores – including Spar’s TOPS brand and Pick n Pay Liquor.

Alcohol sales have remained a point of contention since South Africa first entered into its Covid-19 lockdown at the end of March 2020.

The alcohol industry subsequently lost over 20 weeks of work, with three separate bans instituted and billions of rands lost in taxes and revenue.

One of the biggest issues has been caused by the uncertainty of the bans and lack of forewarning from the government, with concerns that South Africa could face further restrictions on the sale of alcohol as it faces a third wave of covid-19 infections.

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