After grim tidings in trading updates from Woolies and Massmart last week, you were looking forward to Shoprite’s, weren’t you? Us too. However, at first glance, it was a source of some concern rather than the sheer delight we have become so accustomed to from The Big Red One: sales for the full year will be up around 10%, or 6.9% on a like-store basis, compared with a more buoyant 14% in Shoprite’s first half – confirmation, if any were needed, that this great sector we call home is truly up against it. It, being the recessionary conditions which currently prevail. Elsewhere in Africa, things were only moderately better, with sales growing 13.5% as currencies fluctuate and commodity prices continue soft. What’s the plan there Shoprite? They’re continuing their push into Woolies and Pick n Pay territory, gleaning what still might be had from the upper end of the market with Checkers, while continuing to provide value at the embattled mid-to-lower levels through Shoprite and Usave, alongside the full-steam-ahead focus on growth beyond our borders into Africa. We await their official full-year results with bated breath.
Comment: Shoprite are renowned for stepping up to any challenge. We have no doubt they are cracking open their war chest as we speak.