Shoprite Summer in the City
Hot on the heels of Pick n Pay’s new Mall of Africa flagship last week comes a brand new Shoprite Hyper, in Sandton City, which might one day be an actual city. The behemoth features all the mod cons, including a temperature-controlled wine cellar, a decadent chocolatier bar, a coffee station , an in-store Kauai, a sushi bar, and a coal-fired pizza oven. The aisles will be wider and the floors seamless, for easier trolley-manoeuvring. It will also feature more jobs: the store employs 290 staff, of which 225 are women. And speaking of jobs: Shoprite created 3,175 of them last year, for a total of 147,000+ people on the payroll, with an emphasis on youth: 68% of staff are under 34. Incidentally, this makes it South Africa’s largest private-sector employer. Retail has been one of the few thin silver linings in the looming cloud that is unemployment: our industry grew employment +0.8% year-on-year for the first quarter of 2019, and added a total of 84,000 jobs in the second quarter.
Comment: In some ways, retail is South Africa’s essential industry, driving many other sectors, and providing economic growth and employment when both are in short supply.