Shoprite Northern exposure
Exciting stuff, this Expansion Into Africa business. It’s taken some time, but finally the big boys are getting the message that there’s a buck to be had beyond our borders. What? Never! Turns out Shoprite are coming up for their – wait for it – 20th anniversary in Zambia! From brave beginnings, The Big Red One is now the largest supermarket chain in the country, with 44 stores, 3,000 locals on its payroll and 75% of its product sourced from local businesses. In fairness, it hasn’t been all plain sailing, with pushback on occasion from labour, government and dishonest shareholders, but Shoprite have stayed the course. One of their big success stories lies with the humble potato, 7million kgs of which Shoprite now procures yearly from local growers, who have set up storage facilities to extend the supply season of that earthy crop.
Comment: One day when the book on retail in Africa is written, Shoprite’s successes and challenges in Zambia will have a chapter all of their own.