Tag: growth

The dirty underbelly of the Naspers darling

MultiChoice and Naspers are in the crosshairs of public opprobrium for playing tough tackle in their negotiations to protect their market dominance.

“This company is aggressive and entrepreneurial. We often go with our gut,” says a MultiChoice executive to explain revelations of the company’s negotiating tactics, which have landed its parent company Naspers in a mighty pickle.

Naspers is facing three investigations: a litigious class action by a US law firm is exploring the allegations; a parliamentary inquiry on the scale of the Eskom probe is being planned for early 2018; and MultiChoice’s board is engaged in a probe to get to the bottom of the allegations.

MultiChoice and Naspers are in the crosshairs of public opprobrium for playing tough tackle in their negotiations to protect their market dominance, but the company says this is standard lobbying. Here’s a recap of what’s bugging the global Internet and media company:

An investigation by News24 into the #Guptaleaks emails revealed how a company regulatory affairs honcho wrote policy for government that landed up on the email servers of the Gupta family after being mailed through by former communications minister Faith Muthambi.

A set of minutes, which the DA calls secret, but which MultiChoice says never was, alleges that MultiChoice tied an agreement to pay the SABC for digital channels to support for a position that excluded encryption and protected the company’s position.

MultiChoice’s support and contracts with the National Association of Manufacturers in Electronics components in return for their lobbying against encryption.
Analysts say industry incumbents who write policy for government engage in regulatory capture — this is where private interests drive public policy. In mining, a similar trend is apparent. Special interests that are not immediately visible to the public motivate the writing of draft laws and practices such as aggressive inspections and work stoppages.

Standard lobbying

Executives at MultiChoice who spoke to HuffPost SA on condition of anonymity are taken aback at the allegations. The company would not formally respond as lobbying and regulatory affairs are part of the ongoing probe at the company. (See statement below.)

One said that companies often wrote draft policy positions for government as part of the lobbying process. Broadcasting is complex and the South African state’s governance thereof has been sclerotic: there have been five communications ministers in the eight years that President Jacob Zuma’s been in office.

“In lobbying, we are saying what we think the law should say.” As to how the email landed up on a Gupta company server, an executive said: “Faith Muthambi told us she didn’t like those people [the Guptas] at all.”

The executive says only 10% of its recommended policy proposals ended up in the final law, which clarified what the respective functions would be of Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele and the communications minister after Zuma split the department in two.

“[It’s true], though, that we lobbied everyone and their dog on encryption,” said an executive. This is a separate policy to the one that ended up in the hands of Gupta man Ashu Chawla.

ANC MP and former communications minister Yunus Carrim says Naspers chairperson Koos Bekker “…almost saw himself as an adviser to me [on encryption] as somebody new to the sector. And yet, because of his vested profit and other interests in the pay-tv sector, he obviously couldn’t play any such role.”

A DStv decoder for you, you and you

As a young MP, Carrim sat on parliament’s communications committee. One day, he remembers a furious Frene Ginwala, who was the National Assembly speaker, calling out MPs for taking MultiChoice’s gifts of decoders for MPs. She said it was absurd because “we have to make policy impacting broadcasters”.

Carrim would like to see an end to gifting by MultiChoice and other government-facing companies, which depend on public regulation or licence to operate.

In my experience, there seem to be various forms of ‘regulatory capture’ including perks to MP’s and the preparation of documents for other stakeholders to advance MultiChoice’s interests.
Yunus Carrim
He says the lobbying become more aggressive as certain members of the ANC study group were courted by MultiChoice to take positions against encryption, even though the ANC policy at the time was for conditional access to the set-top boxes that will enable converting old TVs for digital television.

“Of course, business should lobby government as vigorously as they want, but they can’t seek to buy government policy. Lobbying should be within reasonable limits and within a generally accepted framework of ethics,” says Carrim.

DA MP Phumzile van Damme says establishing a code of conduct for public policy lobbyists is essential and will be part of an investigation into state capture in the communications sector in the new year.

MultiChoice responds

We note that your questions deal with the parameters of an acceptable level lobbying. We think it is inappropriate to deal with that at this time, as the MultiChoice Board’s Audit and Risk committees are specifically and currently reviewing these matters. We don’t want to pre-empt or influence the outcome of that process. The audit and risk committees are chaired by an independent non-executive Director. Their report will be submitted to the MultiChoice Board on completion of the review. When this process is concluded, we will communicate the outcome.

We believe that no improper conduct took place in our meeting with the SABC. It was not a clandestine meeting. The meeting was held at the request of the SABC, on their premises and was recorded. Top management and board members of both parties were represented. No kickbacks were paid. It was a negotiation meeting and the final decision on our proposal lay with the SABC Board.

As you know, the Constitutional Court has found in favour of the Minister’s policy. Ultimately, the SABC considered its position and decided to enter into the agreement. Our position on encryption of set-top box for digital migration was well known and had been in the public domain.

We have a long-standing relationship with the SABC dating back to the early 1980s. The parties have bought and sold content from and to each other for many years and will continue to do so.

By Ferial Haffajee, Editor-at-large for HuffPost South Africa

Printing money: starting a business in a dying industry

Why would you start a business in a dying industry? Just ask Alexander Knieps.

In this electronic world, many say print is dead. But Alexander Knieps, the founder of online printing company, Printulu, echoing the words of famous author Mark Twain, says reports of this death are greatly exaggerated.

“If you look at how this industry is developing, I don’t think we are moving into a paperless industry, at least not in the next 50 years. Afterwards, I don’t know. It is all about what channel is out there and whether it is affordable,” says Knieps.

We meet Knieps at an industrial park in Modderfontein, east of Johannesburg. This is where business cards, posters, postcards, and flyers are printed for thousands of companies, media houses and coffee shops across South Africa. In a matter of minutes, a pile of paper flows from the printer.

On this spring day, the sun shines brightly and the sky is clear. The tranquillity is shaken by the loud rattle of paper being printed.

“In our age of technology, when you are studying, nobody thinks, ‘ooh, let me go into paper’. I think it is a very rare thing,” says Knieps.

Knieps, who is born and bred in Germany, founded Johannesburg-based Printulu last year. The name is a combination of the words print and Zulu (a South African language). He studied business at EBS Business School in Germany and got his master’s degree at ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain.

Starting the business has been far from plain sailing.

“The first couple of months, we were completely bootstrapped. You get your first clients, you show some nice traction, and then, in the beginning of the year, we raised some funds, which were a couple of million rands, which are enough to last for the next two years,” he says.

Investors are hard to find.

“South Africa is not the easiest place to raise money. There also isn’t much money in the market because of the current economic climate. [When] it comes to online printing, people just look at the industry itself; they don’t think how you could invest deeper. There aren’t many investors and it takes a while to close deals [compared to] anywhere else in the world,” he says.

Knieps says the future for paper printing is mass production.

“We are batching up all these smaller orders and print them in bulk and that is how you can disrupt the market. Hence, you see a shift from offline to online in the industry,” he says.

He calls on other entrepreneurs to get with the times.

“The industry is very inefficient in a way that there is a lot of competitive pressure. There are thousands of printers in Gauteng who are operating with an archaic business model. You have inefficiency on the one side and macroeconomic pressure on the other. That is why a lot of printers are closing down even though we are growing strongly at the moment. If you see those components, it actually makes people a lot more price sensitive and that actually helps the business to scale,” he says.

Print dead? Not in the world of Knieps.

By Melitta Ngalonkulu for Forbes Africa
Image: Forbes Africa

Starting your own business? Here’s some advice

Here’s the irony: it’s never been easier to start a business, which is why it’s never been harder to start a business.

In the “old days”, when a big company had 5 00 staff, it had 5 000 horsepower which is why back then, big companies and governments were the only entities that could get the big jobs done and move the world forward. But thanks to digitisation, the world has changed drastically in the last decade or two. Now, a small company of 10 bright people equipped with the enabling technology become an army that has the equivalent 5 000 horsepower.

This is why starting a business has never been more alluring. Small groups of people can disrupt massive industries just like Uber and Airbnb did to their respective industries. The really big problem for most established industries is that it’s hard to see where new competition is coming from. The entire taxi industry could never have predicted that two entrepreneurs and a few software engineers could change their lives forever.

Things are heating up

For the first time in the world, you can impact the world from your bedroom while chilling in your underpants. That said, big companies aren’t standing still and they are equally using the same technology to ring out efficiencies in their businesses. I believe we are at the point where we will see technology replace people in big companies at an unprecedented rate.

A small example of this is Nu Metro and Ster-Kinekor. Just two years ago, you actually bought your movie tickets from a human being at the ticket kiosk. The other night, I went to the movies and counted a total of three staff working. All tickets and refreshments were bought using a tablet at the front desk. The only people working were the ones pouring my Slush Puppy and dishing my popcorn for me.

With this in mind, being an entrepreneur is a great idea with just one caveat: the easier it gets to become an entrepreneur, the more other people are going to do it. Competition drives innovation which means it will get harder and harder for startups to succeed unless they are absolutely excellent. With this in mind, the following advice is critical to you starting a business:

  • You have to be absolutely passionate about the business you want to start, but your business also has to also solve a big problem for society (there must be an appropriate market for what you want to do).
  • Conscious capitalism is the way forward. Doing the right thing isn’t a nice to have anymore. It’s the only way to do business.
  • You have to have the energy of a 1 000 men when you start because every little detail becomes your responsibility.
  • That said, you have to become a master of technology so that you can scale your business. Technology enables small groups of people to act like an army. The days of linear improvement won’t do.
  • You have to become forever educated because the world is changing so fast and you need to know what’s going on in order to understand how approaching trends will affect your business. YouTube, daily reading and podcasts: informal education is key.
  • Finally, play the long game. Create a 30-year plan and work backward. Chase excellence and not money. Money is the result of doing something well. When you put this all together, you have a sustainable business.

By Mark Sham, founder and CEO of Suits & Sneakers and Impello incubation hub

Eight habits of successful people

There are no guaranteed paths to success and wealth, but there are certain habits and lifestyle choices that most wealthy and successful people employ in their daily routine. Adopting them could help you on your way.

1. Reading
Warren Buffet has said that he spends 80% of his work time reading and learning. His enormous wealth obviously creates space for that when many of us would need to be getting on with our more standard jobs. However, the lesson remains. Those with a greater understanding of the world around them are exponentially more prepared to deal with the difficult decisions that life will throw at the.

2. Personal care
Specifically, exercise and personal hygiene. The benefits of even limited exercise once a day are well established. It makes you sharper and more positive in your approach – Richard Branson claims his productivity has doubled since he started an early-morning bicycle ride. Personal hygiene is critical to how you are regarded by your colleagues, and somebody who cannot take care of themselves is unlikely to be able to take care of a business. Diet is also critical – eating the wrong food at the wrong time of day can upset your ability to focus.

3. Rise early
Early risers have the benefit of a quiet couple of hours to clear their minds or to really focus on something while there is still peace, or to exercise. This quiet time for reflection is a common theme in surveys of wealthy people, and is said to reduce stress.

4. Sleep
Another common theme among the successful is that sleep is considered a priority. Albert Einstein is said to have required ten hours of sleep a night, which might be somewhat extreme – but surveys reveal that successful people make sure they get seven or eight hours of sleep a night. So, perhaps eschew that extra episode on Netflix and get to bed instead.

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Getting wound up about stuff you have absolutely no control over, such as bad traffic and slow WIFI or technical issues does nothing but reduce your ability to think straight. Successful people understand that they ought to control what they can, and laugh off what they cannot. Of course, you have options to avoid traffic and install reliable WIFI and, more generally, you can keep timewasters and negative people out of your life, but when the unavoidable happens, just take it in your stride.

6. Live with moderation
This isn’t a call for miserable austerity, but a reflection that a key feature of the behaviour of many successful people is that they live reasonably moderate lives. It’s not that they don’t live very comfortably, however they do often eschew the wasteful expressions of enormous wealth. Many have a single, expensive passion – be it wine, whisky, cars, travel or art – but it is usually indulged quietly and in a context of more generalised restraint.

7. Treat your juniors with respect: make time for them
Getting younger and junior people “on your team” is often as simple as acknowledging their work and according them respect. The most junior people in your sphere of influence will one day move on to greater things, and your behaviour towards them when there was a gulf in power dynamics will never be forgotten. Use your power to uplift and encourage people, to ensure that they have the tools they require to do their work, and you’ll be repaid with interest over the years. It’s a simple, easy and valuable habit.

8. Trust your gut
Despite whatever confidence issues you might have, the chances are that you’re doing the job you’re doing because you’re good at it. Create enough quiet in your daily routine to hear your instincts. They’re often quieter than the many other people demanding your attention and that you take a certain course of action. However, more often than not, your gut is worth listening to.

 

A new era of retail is coming

On October 25 of this year — on an otherwise quiet day in retail news — Nike chief executive Mark Parker fired a reverberating shot across the bow of the entire retail industry.

He announced that out of Nike’s global universe of more than 30,000 retail partners the brand would, going forward, focus its time, attention and capital on forty — FORTY — retailers that Nike calls “strategic wholesale partners.” Partners, he explained, which are willing and able to build out unique and dedicated Nike spaces within their store environments.

With this one brief announcement, Parker had not only given tens of thousands of merchants around the world a Tony Soprano-style kiss on the cheek, but he’d also made the same sweaty-palmed decision that thousands of other brand CEOs secretly wrestle with on a daily basis: whether to abandon the intoxicating volume of the mass market in a sober effort to save their brands from almost certain ruin.

Barely a quarter goes by that I don’t speak with at least one brand executive awakening to the reality that the reach, ubiquity and market penetration that hyper-retailers, department stores and discounters once offered is now the very thing that is siphoning equity from their precious trademarks. The power-merchants that made these brands household names were now the very things rendering them commoditised hostages in a high-speed chase to the bottom. Once the salvation of many a fledgling brand, mass merchants have increasingly become like kryptonite. In a world constantly seeking what’s next, new or special, mass retail has become toxic in its overexposure. For consumers, to whom shopping experiences matter as much, or more, than products, mass merchants are bringing nothing to the table.

Nike is merely one in a growing list of labels rethinking their distribution strategies. Earlier this year Coach announced it would leave the floors of over 250 department stores. Michael Kors also made a similar decision. And high-end outerwear brand Canada Goose, a brand that has traditionally been sold through wholesalers, now has a long-term goal of generating at least half its profits from its direct-to-consumer business. One by one, brands are fleeing the mass market and their absence will weigh heavily on all mass merchants.

However, more important in Nike’s announcement was the bold declaration that only one tenth of one percent of their retailer network — those retailers who could deliver on the brand promise and experience — were even worthy of the brand’s time and attention. The remainder of Nike’s resources, according to Parker, would be dedicated to growing the brand’s direct-to-consumer business through its owned stores and websites, which currently represent about 30 percent of Nike’s total sales.
In a world constantly seeking what’s next, new or special, mass retail has become toxic in its overexposure.

This is by no means a minor shift. In fact, what it portends is a complete reformation of the retail market and a breakdown of the wholesale-retail model for revenue.

Where today the retail market is largely divided by luxury, mid-tier, and discount, the coming decade will see the market more clearly bifurcate into two distinct retail approaches. The first will encompass an ever-swelling number of vertically-integrated brands that focus on serving individual consumers at scale and in a manner that best befits the brand. The second will be a new class of “experiential merchants” that use their physical stores and online assets to perfect the consumer experience across a category or categories of products. They will define the ideal experiential journey, employing expert “product ambassadors” and technology to deliver customer experiences that are truly unique, remarkable and memorable. So memorable that they leave a lasting, positive experiential imprint on the shopper’s psyche.

The solitary aim of these new-era retailers will be to drive significant sales for their brand partners. But unlike stores of today that are single-mindedly focused on four-wall sales, experiential stores of the future will position themselves as true any-channel hubs. They will serve customers through multiple means of fulfilment that will include their own channels as well as direct-to-consumer sales from their brand partners. Attribution for these sales will matter less than delivering the powerful shopping experience responsible for generating them. And for this, brands like Nike will reward experiential merchants handsomely — not simply with conventional product margin but also with upfront media and agency fees. These experiential merchants will, in essence, be media channels and will be earn revenue as such. Brands like Nike will not be their vendors but rather their clients.

Taken in this context, Nike’s announcement on October 25, 2017 was a profound harbinger of a tectonic shift in the industry. One of the world’s largest brands was not merely communicating a new brand strategy but more clearly than ever before, foreshadowing an entirely new and revolutionary era of retail.

Doug Stephens for Business of Fashion

Why Black Friday, and not Cyber Monday, has gone global

An international survey performed the week preceding Black Friday 2017 examined consumer preferences in anticipation of the end-of-year shopping events.

The survey, conducted among 3,400 participants from 8 developed countries, has revealed that Black Friday enjoys a double-digit popularity percentage in 6 countries outside the United States, while Cyber Monday tops out at only 4% outside of North America.

A survey conducted in November 2017 by One Hour Translation presents a global perspective on the preferences of online consumers concerning the end-of-year shopping events.

The survey reveals that the event most consumers look forward to is Black Friday, which enjoys a double-digit popularity percentage in 6 countries outside the United States. Cyber Monday tops out at only 4% in the examined countries outside of North America.

The online survey was conducted with Google Consumer Surveys among 3,400 participants from the following 8 developed countries: The United States, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Australia and Japan.

One Hour Translation asked the participants: “Which online shopping event have you been waiting for this year?” and allowed the respondents to pick more than one answer. The survey analyzed the answers of 1 000 participants from the US, 600 from the UK and 300 in each of the remaining participating countries.

In the United States, 14.5% of respondents said they were waiting for Black Friday, which took place on November 24 this year, while 16% were waiting for Cyber Monday (November 27). Black Friday is particularly popular in Canada (about 26%), Spain (about 22%), France (about 21%), the UK and Germany (about 19% each) and to a lesser extent in Australia and Japan (about 10% in each country). On average among the 8 countries sampled in the survey, 17% of respondents were looking forward to Black Friday, compared to about 8% who were looking forward to Cyber Monday and about 3% who were looking forward to the Singles Day event (the Chinese holiday celebrating single people) – making Black Friday a significant shopping event outside the US.

Cyber Monday, on the other hand, enjoyed a double-digit popularity percentage only in the North American countries. 16% of respondents in the United States said they were waiting for Cyber Monday, and 10% of respondents in Canada, figures that were much higher compared to the ones observed in the UK (about 4%), Australia, Germany, Spain, France and Japan (about 3%).

The Chinese “Singles Day” shopping event, which takes place every year on November 11, was highly anticipated among 7.5% of respondents in Japan, as opposed to approximately 6% in Spain and France, 4% in Canada, 3% in Germany, 2% in Britain and Australia, and only 1.4% in the United States.

Despite the fact that the survey was conducted online and was naturally geared towards online consumers, about two thirds of respondents (68%) on average among the eight countries said that they were not looking forward to any online shopping events. About 4% of the 3,400 respondents said they were looking forward to shopping events other than those examined in the survey. The level of variability among the countries when it came to these two figures was low.

“We already knew that Black Friday has become the top brand among the end-of-year shopping events around the world, thanks to the survey we conducted last year. This year, Black Friday is once again the most popular shopping event among consumers.

“However, looking at the figures, we can see a major difference in the levels of anticipation for the Cyber Monday shopping event, which is popular in North America – the United States and Canada – as opposed to the anticipation it enjoys in the major economies outside of North America,” says Ofer Shoshan, co-founder and CEO of One Hour Translation.

“Based on our extensive work with thousands of e-commerce companies, we would encourage companies outside of North America in this particular field to invest in associating their activity and their brand with the Cyber Monday event.”

The future of work could be in freelance

Today freelancers present 35% of the workforce in the United States, 16% in the European Union and – while South African figures are harder to determine – the number is thought to be about 10% and rising strongly.

Linda Trim, Director of FutureSpace, said: “The data shows that freelancing is on the rise worldwide.

“And that’s partly because of the ‘gig economy’, people working independently for companies like Uber which is a relentlessly evolving phenomenon.”

In OECD countries, studies show that freelancers individuals work chiefly in the services sector (50% of men and 70% of women). The remainder are everything from online assistants to architects, designers and photographers.

A recent study called “A snapshot of today’s on demand workforce” by software firm Xero, showed that the majority of freelancers in OECD countries are “slashers”, meaning that their contract work supplements another part-time or full-time position.

These additional earnings can vary considerably. Those who spend a few hours a month editing instruction manuals from home may earn a few hundred euros (R3 to R4k) a month. Freelance occupational therapists may pull in ten times that working full-time (R30 to R40k/month).

Said Trim: “Perhaps the most glamorous face of freelancing are the ‘creative classes’ an agile, connected, highly educated and globalised category of workers that specialise in communications, media, design, art and tech, among others sectors.

“They are architects, web designers, bloggers, consultants and the like, whose job it is to stay on top of trends.”

Freelancers constitute a diverse population of workers – their educational backgrounds, motivations, ambitions, needs, and willingness to work differ from one worker to the next.

“In addition to the rise if the gig economy, the search for freedom with income is another huge motivator. Freelancing is increasingly a choice that people make in order to escape the 9-to-5 workday.”

Trim added that many of the clients that have signed up at FutureSpace work for themselves and are developing their business or have worked for big businesses for years and are now independent consultants.

“We have also noticed that many large corporates are hiring freelancers and are wanting to use shared spaces like FutureSpace for specific projects or innovation drives rather than have them in the established where they will be exposed to how things have always been done.”

Trim noted however that full-time, company-based work is still the standard for employment in most countries, including South Africa.

“But with the rise of telecommuting and automation and the unlimited potential of crowdsourcing, it stands to reason that more and more firms will begin running, and even growing, their businesses with considerably fewer employees.

“This does not necessarily mean an increase in unemployment. Instead, it likely means more freelancers, who will form and reform around various projects in constant and evolving networks,” Trim concluded.

Caxton: the Naspers antithesis

Caxton and CTP Publishers & Printers, which is still earning most of its keep from newspapers, magazines and printing and packaging, could well be regarded as the antithesis of Naspers. Whereas Naspers has been ripped away from its print-media roots by an array of technology investments, Caxton still seems content to tinker with its (well-managed) traditional operations.

That’s not to say there’s not much to like about Caxton. In fact, there may be more than a few contrarian market watchers who prefer the conservative vision of Caxton prime-mover Terry Moolman to the all-conquering global thrust of Naspers chair Koos Bekker.

Caxton, on a trailing earnings multiple of around 10 times, may seem a fair rating, noting the changing media landscape. It’s worth noting the company’s operations are still churning out convincing free cash flows, and the allocation of this capital will determine Caxton’s long-term viability. The fair value of cash and cash equivalents topped R1.9bn, with cash generated by operating activities increasing over 20% to R782m — equivalent to around 195c/share. There was a R356m investment in property, plant and equipment – a large portion of this earmarked for the packaging divisions to facilitate a restructuring of the Gauteng operations. Caxton also made several acquisitions during the year, spending R158m. Perhaps the most eyecatching event is listed under the R85m investments and loans to associates. Though the most significant seems to be a 30% investment in Universal Labelling, the far more intriguing tilt is the shareholder loans made to “rapidly growing” fibre-to-home associate Octotel.

Caxton notes that Octotel will have connected more than 50,000 homes by the end of the year, making it the Western Cape’s largest independent open access fibre operator. Post-balance-sheet events may also raise market interest. Though the R11m acquisition of self-adhesive label business Tricolor in the Western Cape reinforces the old-economy tag, Caxton made a big move in clinching a 50% stake in Private Property SA, one of the leading digital real-estate portals, for R123m.

Caxton is clearly a business at an interesting juncture. I suspect the share price, which (aside from an odd spike) has dribbled downwards for five years, may find some traction fairly shortly.

Safety in numbers

Stellar Capital Partners (SCP) has pretty much been defined by its investment in JSE-listed Torre Industrial. That masks the fact the company did a rather good deal in buying out security technology firm Amecor, now apparently the subject of two takeover bids by other investment companies. Amecor delivered normalised earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) of R52.3m for its year to end-March — justifying SCP’s purchase price of around R270m. If Amecor is for sale, could SCP — noting prevailing economic conditions — ask north of R300m? Market talk is that SCP may be offering Amecor in a package deal, with the stake in electronics manufacturer Tellumat tossed in as well.

Over the rainbow

RCL Foods is still counting on chickens, and executives seem determined to dismiss notions that the Rainbow poultry business will be put up for sale. This is despite the industry looking anything but the picture of plump prospects, with cheap imports still flying in and an ill-timed outbreak of avian flu.

RCL’s recent results, though, did show the poultry segment looking slightly pluckier, with a stronger second-half performance. The business model change — which will result in a volume reduction, with quick-service restaurant offerings favoured over commodity offerings like individually quick frozen — will hopefully yield further margin improvements.

It’s encouraging, too, that RCL’s chicken business is once again excelling in the “freezer to fryer” section, where market share at the end of June grew to a category-leading position of almost 40%.

By Marc Hasenfus for BusinessLive

Inside Shoprite’s giant new distribution centre

The Shoprite Group’s new Cilmor distribution centre in Brackenfell, Cape Town, spans 123 000m² and is described by the group as one of the most technologically advanced distribution centres on the African continent.

It consolidates the activities of five different distribution centres spread throughout Cape Town and provides jobs for about 3 500 people at the facility and a further about 500 people indirectly. The centre consolidates about 500 suppliers and it is anticipated that about 20 000 products will be stored there.

Construction of Cilmor began in February 2016. Its name is derived from farmer Cecil Morgan (Cilmor) who formerly owned the land.

The distribution centre consists of three different sections, namely ambient (operational since August 2017), frozen and chilled (both operational in 2018).

The ambient section includes a “chocolate box” where temperature-sensitive items such as chocolates are stored.

According to Photy Tzellios, general manager of supply chain at Shoprite Checkers, the company looked at various methods all over the world in order to develop Cilmor.

“It is not about four walls and inventory, but about how things are put together,” he told Fin24 during a tour of the facility on Tuesday.

“We looked for solutions for the flow from suppliers to the centre and from the centre to our stores. It is about anticipating what our customers need without the stores having to store stock. It is all about inventory management.”

This means warehouse space is not needed at stores and more stores can be “mushroomed” over a greater area.

Source and images: Supermarket and Retailer

Bic lowers full-year growth forecast

French company Bic, known for its disposable lighters, ball-point pens and razor blades, has seen its sales stagnate over the past six months. The board has immediately lowered its full-year growth forecast.

1.063 billion euro turnover
Bic achieved a 1.063 billion euro six-month turnover (+ 0.3 % compared last year’s first semester), thanks to the Stationary division that grew 3.3 % and is the company’s largest division with a 428-million euro turnover. Distributors responded well to Bic’s novelties for the upcoming schoolyear, the Clichy-based company said.

Bic’s disposable lighters also continue to sell well and contribute 356.9 million euro, up 0.8 %. Its razor blade division did not do as well, as its turnover slumped 4.3 % to 236.4 million euro, mainly because of weaker sales in the United States. By comparison, Europe and the growth markets did display growth for the razor blade division.

Even though its second quarter turnover outperformed the first quarter, the board still dialed back its full-year growth forecast. “As markets remain volatile for the balance of the year, coupled with recent signs of lower consumption in Brazil, we now expect to trend between 3% to 4% Full Year Organic Net Sales growth”, Bic said. Only three months ago, it targeted a 5 % increase, but analysts had already stated that number was far too optimistic. The French group published a 2.026 billion euro turnover and a 249.7 million euro net profit.

By Karin Bosteels for www.retaildetail.eu

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My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


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