Tag: groceries

School robbed of laptops, groceries

By Molaole Montsho for IOL

Four men were arrested for allegedly stealing 18 laptops, a projector and groceries valued at R78 000 from a school in Bloemfontein on Tuesday.

Free State police spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele said the men, aged between 17 and 25, were arrested on Tuesday morning after police acted on an intelligence-driven operation around Ipopeng and Freedom Square.

“A principal from the local school in Olive Hill, Navalsig, received an alarm notification from school. Upon arrival at about 08.30, he realised that a window to the storeroom was broken. He discovered that 18 HP laptops, school feeding scheme groceries and a projector, all valued at R78 000, were stolen. A case of burglary was opened for investigation,” Makhele said.

The first suspect was apprehended in Ipopeng, where one laptop was recovered. Information led police to Freedom Square where 11 more laptops were recovered and three suspects arrested, Makhele said.

“Upon further investigation, police recovered three more laptops that were already sold to a second-hand goods dealer in town. Investigations are under way to recover the remaining laptops.”

The four are expected to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court soon facing charges of business burglary and the possession of suspected stolen property.

Free State provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Baile Motswenyane advised residents to refrain from buying suspected stolen goods as they would also be charged. She encouraged second-hand goods dealers to request proof of ownership when they bought second-hand goods.

In the Eastern Cape, two men were arrested on Tuesday in connection with a house robbery in Gelvandale, police said.

Spokesperson Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said a woman was woken by a noise at 1am to find three men in her bedroom.

The suspects fled with a television set and her cellphone.

The woman woke up the other occupants in the house and, while they were waiting for the police to arrive, the suspects returned. As the police arrived on the scene, they were informed that the the suspects had returned and a description of the suspects was provided to them.

The police received information that the men were hiding in a house in Gelvandale.

Two suspects were arrested and the stolen television set recovered.

The suspects, aged 19 and 20, were arrested on charges of house robbery and will appear in the Gelvandale Magistrate’s Court during the week.

 

More South Africans buying food on credit

By Neil Roets for Mail & Guardian

On 1 June, StatsSA announced that the country’s unemployment rate has continued to worsen, hitting the 32.6% mark for the first time since the study was launched in 2008. Among the youth, this figure is far worse, hovering around 46%. Brought on by the ravages of the pandemic where millions have lost their jobs or experienced pay cuts, the latest stats point to the ongoing crisis that is affecting us on micro and macro levels. Most notably, it’s the middle-class that has been the most affected, with a forecast from Transaction Capital stating that 34% are expected to fall out of this demographic band because of the previously employed having to switch to informal employment or take on short-term contracts.

With fewer consumers reporting earning wages of R22 000+ a month and more now receiving incomes of less than R8000 a month this trend is likely to continue. Among lower-income groups, those who earn the National Minimum Wage (R3 643.92) continue to experience extreme hardship; the cost of a Basic Nutritional Food Basket for a family of four costs R2919.47 leaving exactly R724.45 to cover everything else, putting them at significant risk of turning to debt to survive. Where can they go for help?

In response to this deteriorating personal finance landscape, government is considering introducing a Basic Income Grant. Aimed at those who are unemployed and aged between 19 and 59 its introduction follows the end of the Covid-19 Social Relief for Distress Grant of R350. Despite giving some short-term relief, the amount is far below the poverty line, which sits at about R561 a month. With a shortfall of a few hundred rands, many will have no other option but to seek support.

According to a recent Debt Rescue survey, this is most often in the form of help from family and friends (30%), savings (36%), selling assets (10%) or turning to expensive credit providers. To put the latter in perspective, PayCurve recently published its own survey, indicating that 80% of all South Africans make use of unsecured credit or payday loans. Both come at extraordinary costs given the interest incurred on the principal loan amount, especially if it comes from a loan shark that can charge between 50% and 112% in interest. This is completely unsustainable and puts South Africans in a dangerous place where debt is used to pay for debt — it is a deeply concerning and profoundly challenging situation.

Through whatever means additional funds are being procured, it has to cover a lot of expenses. Given the average Household Food Basket is R4 137.11 (Household Affordability Index) how are costs for electricity, water, transport, school fees and medical expenses covered, many of which have increased recently? Eskom’s 15% tariff hike is a case in point, as is the rising fuel price that has had a significant knock-on effect on everything that needs to be transported. We also saw South Africa’s inflation rate increase in March 2021 to 3.2%, and is something that will likely continue in the coming months, further affecting pricing and the end-user.

Credit providers are often the only “way out”. This is evidenced by the fact that, according to our April consumer data, 42% said that they had opened a store card to buy groceries. This is alarming and completely unsustainable; food is the one thing that should only be paid for in cash — sadly, it is not a new trend. In 2018 Debt Rescue reported on the same consumer behaviour as many turned to retailers to buy food on credit. Even though it was claimed that the funds were only granted to those who could afford it and would use it responsibly, the fact is many consumers are still using credit to buy their cornflakes and pay it off later.

Buying food on credit is symptomatic of a bigger problem. Consumers who have experienced a change in their financial standing, either through retrenchments or pay cuts, are in trouble and taking on more expensive debt is only going to make it worse. Often the only way out is to engage a debt counsellor who can work with them to get out of a devastating debt spiral.

The problems experienced by middle-class South Africans are evident in the responses to our April survey: nearly half (48%) buy meat and vegetables on deals, 18% have switched retailers and have opted for cheaper store brands (14%). A full 82% are also bargain-hunting. This is not surprising given that 89% said the cost of food and goods is significantly higher than 12 months ago.

This is simply untenable. Consumers who have been affected financially by the pandemic are battling and cannot make ends meet. With so many millions joining the ranks of the unemployed, there are only two options: credit or government grants. Both present a set of concerns and challenges, although the latter means more pressure on treasury’s coffers, which are already under siege from competing demands. Becoming reliant on government is not what we want or need. We need to find ways of re-stimulating the economy where small businesses are better enabled to hire, or hire back employees. According to the National Development Plan, small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are expected to account for 90% of all jobs by 2030. If this is the case, we have to find ways to help these businesses get back on their feet and grow so that they are in a position to employ again.

Depressingly, however, the end is not in sight, and we will likely see further bloodshed in the market. With one in 12 jobs lost, it is estimated that employment rates could take until 2025 to revert to pre-pandemic levels. What will happen between then and now is deeply worrying, not least as unscrupulous loan sharks swoop in on the most desperate in our society, offering financial “help” that will further bankrupt them and generations to come.

 

Source: Supermarket & Retailer

The price of foods in the supermarket trollies of families living on low incomes increased 7.8% (R250) between March and May 2020, the two months of lockdown so far.

The Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity (PMBEJD) Household Food Basket survey for May said that lockdown restrictions had meant that children and workers had remained at home, so food ran out quicker, and women could no longer shop around for the cheapest prices, so women had to buy more core staple foods.

“Our research suggests families living on low incomes might be spending 30 percent (R973.93) more on food in May 2020, than they did two months ago,” PMBEJD director Mervyn Abrahams said in a statement yesterday.

The economic effects of the lockdown in South Africa on poor income families has been recognised by the government, with for instance, President Cyril Ramaphosa saying on Freedom Day “that for millions… this has been a month of misery, of breadwinners not working, of families struggling to survive and of children going to bed and waking up hungry.”

On Friday, the South African Food Sovereignty Campaign and the Cooperative and Policy Alternative Center (COPAC) inaugurated the National Food Crisis Forum (NFCF), which has as its aim the building of a partnership with government – which is operating its own food relief programmes – and the Solidarity Fund to address the food crisis in the country.

“Whilst our data is localised (the data is gleaned from shops in Pietermaritzburg most frequented by lower income earners), it is not unlikely that this picture is playing itself out in textured variations across South Africa,” said Abrahams.

He said their research found women, with no savings buffers, were taking on higher debt to absorb some part of the food shortfalls.

“Our findings…raise very serious questions regarding the adequacy of government’s interventions to help South Africans during the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly as financial shocks will continue even as the government moves to ease lockdown restrictions,” said Abrahams.

Over the period pre-lockdown (March 2) to May 4, the price of the PMBEJD Household Food Basket increased by R249.92 or 7.8 percent percent, taking the total cost to R3 470.92 in May. The year-on-year price increase was 13.8 percent.

Some staple food prices to have spiked over two months were rice (26 percent), cake flour (3 percent), white sugar (6 percent), sugar beans (18 percent), cooking oil (11 percent), white bread (15 percent), brown bread (14 percent), potatoes (8 percent), onions (58 percent), tomatoes (12 percent) spinach (13 percent) and cabbage (22 percent).

In Pietermaritzburg, women are typically buying more maize meal (the 25kg bag vs. 10kg), rice (the 25kg bag vs. 10kg bag), cooking oil (an extra 5L), flour (the 12,5kg bag vs. 10kg), potatoes (buying an extra 10kg) and cabbages (an extra 4 heads).

Social distancing in kombis and supermarkets had disrupted shopping procedures. Before Covid-19, women scouted around three to four supermarkets, and two to three butcheries to find the most affordable prices, including specials; and then bought the foods at the best prices.

Now, women were forced to shop in just one supermarket and one butchery.

In Pietermaritzburg, women typically drew on three main alternative money sources: omashonisa (loan sharks), spaza shop credit and cash loans, and stokvel savings and loans.

Source: Engineering News

With the extension of lockdown and uncertainty about freedom of movement post 1 May, app-based on-demand delivery service QUENCH has adapted and amended their business strategy to now include same-day delivery of groceries from Woolworths to customers in major centres across South Africa.

Co-founder and Managing Director, Liam McCreedy, says QUENCH re-engineered their App from an alcohol to a grocery delivery service and have seen a significant spike in downloads and new active users since the launch of the new service.

They have seen a 350% increase in sales with 1 200 downloads in just three days.

“Our service is simple, seamless and very convenient. Whilst the country is under lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, consumers are apprehensive to leave their homes and our contactless service provides them the peace of mind to order from the comfort of their couch! They can expect the same in-store prices and same-day delivery.”

McCreedy says the QUENCH app-based delivery service supports and alleviates the pressure on Woolworth’s online delivery service which has been inundated with orders.

QUENCH staff have been trained on how to deliver packages without any close contact and are equipped with masks and gloves.

Although the service is currently only available across Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, the Cape Winelands (Stellenbosch, Somerset West & Paarl) and George, the QUENCH team will be expanding their offering as demand increases.

The App is super easy to navigate and can be downloaded from the Google Play and Apple App stores. Deliveries are charged at a fixed rate of R60 per delivery and products are charged at the same prices as the in-store Woolworths pricing.

QUENCH will reactivate alcohol sales after the ban has been lifted.

By Dhivana Rajgopaul for IOL

Shoprite Group via its affiliate Computicket has launched virtual vouchers which can be redeemed at any Shoprite, Checkers or Usave supermarket to help customers during the lockdown.

The virtual vouchers that can be safely bought, in just a few easy steps, are sent via SMS to a recipient’s cellphone within an hour of placing the order. It can be redeemed immediately once received.

How it works:

1. Go to www.computicket.com to buy a voucher.

2. The virtual voucher can only be used in-store (not online) by entering the unique voucher number into the pin pad at check out.

3. Vouchers can only be redeemed once, with no change given if the purchase value is less than the voucher value. The remaining value will be loaded onto a gift card in store.

4. Vouchers cannot be exchanged for cash and cannot be redeemed at MediRite pharmacies or at Money Market counters.

5. The vouchers are valid for three years.

Customers can also send money to recipients without bank accounts at the Money Market counters located in selected Shoprite, Checkers and Usave stores.

The company has also rolled out temperature testing and mobile clinics for its employees as it continues to do everything in its power to ensure its stores remain safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Daily temperature testing as employees arrive at work and the roll out of mobile clinics follows the issuing of plastic face shields for employees last week.

Stringent hygiene and sanitising protocols have been in place across all of its stores, distribution centres and offices to keep the shopping environment virus-free.

Employees will wear face shields that are santised on the hour and at all till points staff also sanitise till surfaces.

Buying groceries online just got easier

By Catherine Black for TimesLive

These days, managing your life via your smartphone is nothing new – whether it’s organising travel, booking accommodation, banking, reading the news or tracking your fitness.

But when it comes to something as mundane as grocery shopping, apps that allow us to do this have taken longer to materialise – probably because shopping for a whole lot of smaller items and brands from different places is fairly complex and personal. Luckily, it seems technology has finally caught up.

As a Joburger, you can now choose from at least three grocery shopping apps such as Zulzi, OneCart and Grocerease, where you can order groceries, over-the-counter pharmacy items, liquor, pet food and even restaurant food from a cluster of stores in your area via a single mobile interface.

The app then uses the city as a warehouse, matching your delivery location with the stores closest to you among big retailers like Woolworths, Pick n Pay, Pick n Pay Liquor, Dis-Chem and Clicks.

Some apps also let you select the specific stores you prefer, which can be handy if you prefer a particular franchised Pick n Pay to the one closest to you, for example.

Once you’ve selected and placed your order, a personal shopper assembles your shopping cart on your behalf, and a driver – some companies use registered Taxify or Uber drivers – delivers it to your door. Most apps promise delivery within an hour or two, or you can select a scheduled time that suits you better.

As with other food apps like Uber Eats and OrderIn, you can monitor the progress of your order in real time.

With the arrival of these grocery apps, the days of a frustrating grocery shopping experience – the traffic, the parking, not to mention how time-consuming it all is – seem, thankfully, to be numbered.

Source: Supermarket & Retailer 

It’s no secret that South African shoppers are beset by a storm of rising prices and it seems their shopping baskets are definitely feeling the pain with the average consumer now hyper aware of what they’re purchasing.

As a result, the latest Nielsen Shoppergraphics Report – which looks at shifts in consumer purchasing behaviour within 4 000 representative households across the country on a quarterly basis – reveals local consumers have dropped products from an unprecedented three grocery categories from their shopping basket; namely Household/Cleaning Goods, Beverages and Toiletries.

Nielsen CPG client service director Kelly Arnold comments; “It’s no secret that South African consumers are experiencing a severe wallet squeeze thanks to a raft of rising costs including spiralling petrol and electricity prices, the implementation of sugar tax and a VAT increase to 15%. The effect that this has had on consumer behaviour is profound and we’re now clearly seeing shoppers jumping out of some categories and consolidating their spend.

“As the household basket has become more expensive, we have also seen consumers limiting the number of trips, to 60 trips a year on average, and the top up shop that used to be twice or three times a week has dropped to once every two weeks, with spend per trip now averaging at R210.”

Overall the volume of sales has grown by 2.8%, with the monetary value of sales growing at about 6.3%.

“That said, we’re simply not seeing massive growth with consumers shopping less and spending slightly less; although there are instances of upgrading to larger pack sizes which may be a contributory factor to the small levels of growth.

“Interestingly, the repertoire or number of stores that consumers visit has increased to 4.9 retailers a year. This is as extremely price conscious consumers seek out deals, and are more prepared to shop around.”

What’s in and what’s out?
Drilling down to category performance, Arnold reports that consumers now purchase around 68 categories per year. “We have seen a move towards consumers spending more on dry groceries and perishables with staples remaining stable. The highest amount of spend is happening in frozen chicken and ready to eat cereals, sugar and UHT milk (a long-term trend) and canned meat. The latter might be because of the Listeriosis crisis earlier this year which compelled many consumers to switch from cold meats.

Looking at the specific categories that have experienced the biggest declines Household/Cleaning Goods which are no longer seen as a necessity have dropped by 6% and Beverages by 6%, with Carbonated Soft Drinks (CSDs) experiencing particularly negative performance.

“In this regard, contributing factors may well be the shift in volumes from 500ml to 450 ml size bottle within some of the top brands as well as an influx of other brands carving out a market share for themselves and now spreading their national footprint,” explains Arnold.

An upswing in branded retail
The Shoppergraphics Report also revealed a shift towards modern branded retail outlets away from independent retail within the LSM 1-6 market.

“The growth in usage of branded retail chains by this market could be due to the fact that more retail chains have opened stores in previously under-served areas with large, traditionally modern trade retailers having invested in this sector in the last two years. We also know that branded retail offers more competitive pricing and is therefore seen as less expensive,” says Arnold.

In contrast, higher LSM groups are increasing their spend in independent retail. “The type of behaviour driving this trend is that higher LSM groups are going to branded retail for their big monthly shops and utilising independent retail outlets to do their more frequent top-up shopping. For example, ‘I’m on my way home to Soweto I stop at the taxi rank where there is a Spaza shop nearby, grab a couple of things as a top-up’, resulting in LSM 7-10 spending more there,” explains Arnold.

To counter these trying times, retailers need to ensure they have the right composition of goods for their shoppers, at the right price given that positive price perception is extremely important for future success.

Arnold stresses: “Retail data has also never been more important in order to move past tough times .”

A litre of petrol is now nearly R16

By Jay Caboz for Business Insider SA 

After last night’s increase, a litre of petrol will cost twice as much as a litre of Coke. These favourite local SA items will cost the same as – or more than – a litre of petrol will tonight.

After tonight’s price increase South Africans will be paying almost R16 per litre for petrol. In Gauteng one can expect to pay R15.79 per litre while coastal cities will pay R15.20 per litre, according to the Central Energy Fund.

The recent fuel hikes have been taxing on South African motorists who will now be forking out even more following May’s 49c per litre increase.

Business Insider South Africa visited shopping stores to see how this compared to some of South Africa’s daily items on the isles.

These favourite local SA items will cost almost the same as a litre of petrol will tonight:

  • A litre of Clover Long Life Full Cream Milk – R15.99.
  • A 300ml bottle of drinking yogurt (R15.08) or a 500g tub of plain low fat yogurt (R15.99).
  • A 2-litre bottle of Coca-Cola – R15.99.
  • A 5-litre bottle of water – R16.99.
  • 750ml of No Name Cooking Oil – R15.99
  • A 250ml can of Red Bull Energy Drink go for R14.99.
  • A 350ml refill of Sunlight dish washing liquid.
  • A six pack of hotdog rolls from Pick n Pay – R14.99.
  • A kilogram of rice – R15.99.
  • For the sweet tooth you can get a packet of marshmallows (R15.49), a small packet of Cadbury Tumblers Raisins (R16.13), or a 85g packet of microwave popcorn (R16.49).

By Allison Jeftha for Fin24 

Fin24 went shopping at South Africa’s leading retailers to see who has the lowest prices on products exempt from the increase in value-added tax (VAT).

The VAT hike from 14% to 15% came into effect on April 1, after an announcement by former finance minister Malusi Gigaba in the 2018 Budget.

There has been a widespread backlash to the impact it will have on South African consumers’ pockets, especially those of the poor.

Only 19 items have been excluded from the VAT hike.

The current list of VAT-exempt items comprises the following items:

• Brown bread
• Maize meal
• Samp
• Mealie rice
• Dried mealies
• Dried beans
• Lentils
• Pilchards/sardines in tins
• Milk powder
• Dairy powder blend
• Rice
• Vegetables
• Fruit
• Vegetable oil
• Milk
• Cultured milk
• Brown wheat meal
• Eggs
• Edible legumes and pulses of leguminous plants

When Fin24 conducted a snap poll among users to share their views on the VAT increase and to tell us which items they would like to be added to the current VAT-free list, we were inundated with responses.

The message was clear: the current list of items is not enough.

Fin24 previously reported that Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said government will continue to hold talks with stakeholders in a bid to soften the blow of the VAT hike on the poor, and is prepared to look at expanding the list of zero-rated goods.

Fin24 filled some trolleys at Pick n Pay [JSE:PIK], Woolworths [JSE:WHL], Spar [JSE:SPP], Checkers and Shoprite [JSE:SHP] to get an idea of what the basket of goods would cost.

Here’s what we found:

  • Pick n Pay – Total Price: R363.64
  • Woolworths – Total price: R592.19
  • Spar – Total price: R400.55 spar
  • Shoprite – Total price: R331.08
  • Checkers – Total price: R403.17

The winner is Shoprite, with Pick n Pay not far behind. To be fair, Fin24 compared house brands, and where there weren’t, we chose the cheapest comparable items.

Where the quantities of comparable items in-store differed, we checked for the prices of the like-for-like items of the respective retailers online. The only two retailers that had different size packaging were Pick n Pay and Woolworths. The comparable sized items were found on their websites.

Pick n Pay to offer food on credit

Debt counsellors are warning consumers against buying food on credit, saying that it will have a negative impact on overall debt.

Pick n Pay is the latest store to offer customers the option of purchasing groceries on credit.

The supermarket says that it will use its Smart Shopper card programme to select shoppers who qualify.

Pick n Pay deputy CEO Richard van Rensburg says that the store accounts have been designed to exclude hidden fees that exacerbate the cost of credit and charge the lowest monthly fee of R10.

However, Debt Rescue CEO Neil Roets says that it is better to buy assets on credit than food.

“Food is something that you definitely should not buy on credit. Good debt is having a home loan or a car. But if you have to finance food, then you are in big trouble.”

Debt counsellor Deborah Solomon says that it’s not advisable for shoppers to buy food on credit due to the interest charged on them.

“Food is a necessary living expense which you need to be able to have access to and it’s not wise to spend credit on food, especially when you can’t afford to pay that credit off in its full capacity at the end of the month.”

By Koketšo Motau for EWN

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