Massmart plans to open many new shops

Massmart Holdings plans on opening 50 to 100 new stores over the next three years and about 20 new Cambridge stores a year. After Walmart International received approval to take control of the local group on Tuesday, the focus would now be on opening additional branches of stores, said Massmart chief executive Grant Pattison.

This would create more jobs and career opportunities for the existing team, he said. At the same time it would bring customers quality products at low prices. It seems that the Cambridge format will be used to focus on black residential areas, in particular.

Massmart’s food business will grow by 50% over the next five years. Fresh produce in particular will be sourced from local suppliers. The group plans a sustainability and development programme for thousands of local farmers to deliver these products. The programme will have a black empowerment base.

Expansion into markets in the rest of Africa, such as Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Senegal will be investigated.

This will help South African suppliers to compete better in international markets and will also reduce product prices for South Africans.

According to Pattison, shareholders can expect no fundamental changes to Massmart’s financial operating model.

Petra Krusche, a director of DLA Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr’s competition law division, said that it had been a matter of course that the merger would be approved on competition grounds, but concern over the effect on public interest would always be problematic.

Dr Nicola Theron, a director of the economic consultancy group Econex, said she was pleased the Tribunal had not demanded that a prescribed percentage of Massmart’s purchasing should be local content.

She said the decision was pleasing and investor-friendly, but added that government departments and trade unions which had participated in the hearing before the Tribunal would probably be disappointed.

The decision, she said, showed that the Tribunal, chaired by Norman Manoim, was not a political tool.

Source: Fin24

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