VENTURES: Pick n Pay's African Expansion
Recent Western Cape Business News
The first Pick n Pay store in Zambia opened its doors for business Friday. The Corporate store is situated in Woodlands, Lusaka, and is the first of seven planned over the next five years.
Said CEO, Nick Badminton: “The southern African region represents an increasingly attractive market for us. As disposable incomes continue to grow, the region’s retail potential remains largely untapped and there is considerable opportunity for foreign investors who are willing to enter into constructive partnerships with local communities and government agencies.
“The opening of our new store in Lusaka is therefore not only an act of commercial expansion, but an expression of confidence in Zambia’s economic future. It is an acknowledgement of the fact that beyond the boundaries of South Africa there is a rapidly developing community of consumers who are seeking a new shopping experience that offers value, convenience, choice and exceptional service.”
“As a company, we have in recent years gained a considerable amount of experience in the SADC region, where – in addition to this new store – we conduct retail operations in Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe,” he said. “More recently, we have signed up franchise partners in Mozambique, while identifying sites for expansion into Mauritius. In those countries, as in South Africa, we have always been sincerely committed to working with and serving the communities in which we operate. It will be no different in Zambia, for we are a company that takes its values seriously.”
It is Pick n Pay Zambia’s ambition to open seven stores over the next five years and a further 13 within 10 years. In this commitment, the group is following the example of investors who have shown increased confidence in Zambia’s economy, as is demonstrated by the growing flows of foreign direct investment which have been recorded over recent years.
“We are very clear that Pick n Pay’s major future growth prospects lie firmly in Africa. A country which experienced an FDI inflow of $1.3 billion in the first quarter of 2010 deserves to be taken seriously as an investment destination, and Pick n Pay is proud to be part of Zambia’s journey towards economic growth, social prosperity and regional respect.”
“Over the decades our public reputation and what distinguishes us from many competitors have been shaped by the values that underpin the company’s relationships with its customers and suppliers, rather than looking for the short-term gain of every transaction. I would like to believe that keeping to those values has led to exceptional public trust in our business behaviour.”
Pick n Pay – as it has since its inception – spreads its influence by setting an example of social and economic excellence firmly embedded in a framework of ethical corporate governance. Whether through social investment programmes or its commitment to consumer sovereignty, the group has always tried to conduct itself in a manner which is ethical, accountable and responsible.
“Central to all we do is the customer, and this will inform everything Pick n Pay does and every facet of our operations in Zambia,” said Badminton. “Our objective is to offer our Lusaka customers world-class service, with a range of quality merchandise at competitive prices.
Pick n Pay has signed a cooperation agreement with the Zambian Development Agency (ZDA), in terms of which the company has committed to engaging small and medium enterprises as suppliers and contractors during the construction and operation of this and future Zambian stores.
It is Pick n Pay’s policy to use local suppliers as far as possible, and the local team is working closely with the ZDA in order to identify opportunities for local small-scale farmers to supply stores.
In addition, the company has entered into an agreement with local enterprises, such as Rose Blooms Zambia, a producer of cut flowers, in order to establish an academy to develop and mentor indigenous farmers.
“Our Zambian operation is already involved in a number of community development initiatives in the area. We have adopted a local orphanage and have been active in the renovation of the Woodlands A Basic School library. In addition, Pick n Pay will donate 515 Lapdesks (see notes to editors) to the school, where as many as three children currently share a single desk,” said Badminton.
“Along with other countries in the region, the unemployment rate in Zambia is worrying, and I have no doubt that our presence in Lusaka and elsewhere in this country will create a welcome array of job opportunities for not only our own employees, but among our suppliers and service providers. This store, alone, employs some 130 people – all of them drawn from the local community - and with further expansion over the next five years, we look forward to increasing this number.”
In the first 18 months of this operation, the Zambian regional team will consist of experienced managers who have been seconded from South Africa and will be responsible for the consolidation of the business before handing over management control to Zambian nationals. This temporary group of expatriate staff will provide comprehensive training to Zambians to build capacity and transfer those skills that will ensure self-sustainability.
The new Zambian general manager, Andy Roberts, has spent many years in the retail industry, and has previously acted in a similar position in Pick n Pay’s Namibian operation, having started off his career as retail manager with the UK-based retailer, Sainsburys.
From its inception, however, the new store will be managed by a Zambian national, Henry Ngozi Jere, who is currently completing a degree in marketing administration and comes to the job with many years of retail experience.
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