Massmart Daddy’s gone a hunting
Seven years ago, you may recall, Massmart relinquished a controlling interest to Walmart for the princely sum of $2.3bn, and great things were expected, with the two combining forces steamrolling the competition from Durban to Dakar, or indeed from Naboomspurit to Nairobi, or even Zeerust to (that’s enough. Ed)… where were we? Ah yes. In the intervening period, a couple of things have happened: the retail environment in SA has gotten tougher, and Walmart have not in fact gotten going, although Massmart itself has responded with commendable grit. And Walmart has become distracted by the ceaseless onslaught of Amazon and taken the necessary steps, like the acquisition of Naspers’ 11% stake in Indian online retailer Flipkart. India is seen as a market with perhaps more urgent growth imperatives than Africa, where Walmart seems inclined now to take a longer view. Massmart, in the meantime, is making strides into omnichannel, growing online sales ±47% in 2017, and planning on doubling its floor space by 2020, with the addition of 200,000m² in geographies which include Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Mozambique and Swaziland.
Comment: Tough times for the Men in Black at the mo, but we see better days ahead. Perhaps much better.