SA Spar Group quits Zim

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle -

SPAR Zim­babwe has taken cus­tody of the South African re­tailer’s brand in the coun­try fol­low­ing the clo­sure of the Spar Group’s dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre.

Spar Group chief ex­ec­u­tive Graham O’Con­nor told Reuters that the re­tail gi­ant had di­vested from Zim­babwe’s tough econ­omy at the end of 2015. O’Con­nor said the group would con­tinue to sup­ply Zim­babwe’s in­de­pen­dent Spar stores from South Africa.

In Jan­uary 2016, Innscor Africa, which was the Spar Group’s part­ner in the dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre and a holder of the Spar na­tional li­cence, also an­nounced its re­treat from the re­tail busi­ness with the sale of its six stores.

Ter­rence Yeat­man, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the re­cently es­tab­lished Spar Zim­babwe, told re­porters in Harare on Fri­day that an ex­ist­ing in­de­pen­dent Spar fran­chise holder, Yel­low­cob En­ter­prises took over the six for­mer Innscor stores.

Five of the stores are in Harare — Vil­lage, Bridge, Golden Stairs, Queens­dale and Le­tombo, while one is in Mutare.

In­de­pen­dent re­tailer Dar­ren fam­ily con­trols Yel­low­cob.

“Con­cur­rently, the Spar li­cence for the whole of Zim­babwe was trans­ferred to a newly formed com­pany, called Spar Zim­babwe,” Yeat­man said, adding that Yel­low­cob now has 10 Spar stores un­der its am­bit, while there are now 21 in­de­pen­dent Spar stores across the coun­try.

“There are still 21 Spar stores owned 100 per­cent by in­de­pen­dent lo­cal Zim­bab­wean re­tail­ers around the coun­try. They all trade un­der the Spar ban­ner un­der li­cence from the guild of Spar gro­cers. Lanca’s

“The in­de­pen­dent Spar re­tail­ers work to­gether with Spar Zim­babwe to re­main com­pet­i­tive in the Zim­bab­wean re­tail sec­tor,” Yeat­man said.

“For 49 years the Spar brand has been trad­ing in this coun­try and will con­tinue to do so.”

Yeat­man said Spar Zim­babwe in­tends to have more of its branded prod­ucts man­u­fac­tured lo­cally fol­low­ing the clo­sure of the dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre, which sup­plied mainly South African-made goods.

“At the mo­ment our stock­ing is about 50:50 but we are try­ing to en­cour­age lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers to move into that space. You will see a whole lot more lo­cal prod­ucts com­ing on­line in the next cou­ple of months,” he said.

Yeat­man said Spar Zim­babwe had al­ready started stock­ing lo­cally made baked beans.

“For the last 20 years or so we have been im­port­ing the same baked beans from South Africa but be­gin­ning this year we made the de­ci­sion to switch to a lo­cal man­u­fac­turer . . . the beans are grown by small-scale farm­ers and canned just out­side of Harare,” he said.

“The cost­ing is the most im­por­tant part and we were able to of­fer com­pet­i­tive prices and this is ev­i­dence that with com­mit­ment and clever en­gi­neer­ing we can pro­duce qual­ity prod­ucts in this coun­try.”

Yeat­man said tough eco­nomic con­di­tions had ex­erted pres­sure on in­de­pen­dent re­tail­ers, many who were strug­gling to cope in a cut-throat in­dus­try dom­i­nated by big na­tional chain stores OK Zim­babwe and re­gional gi­ant Pick n Pay of South Africa. — The Source

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