Stocktake: Retailers invest in industry’s future

A focus on buying and sourcing locally; and an acceleration of retail innovation are welcome impacts from the pandemic.

From innovative new retail concepts, to investment in the industry’s future with training programmes and manufacturing opportunities, there is some good news coming out of the pandemic – a focus on buying and sourcing locally; and an acceleration of innovation in the industry.

New flagship Checkers Hyper promises unique shopping experience

The new flagship Checkers in Brackenfell features a food truck, helium bar, coffee bar, wine store, sushi bar, pizza oven, imported rodizio grill, in-store Kauai, a dedicated wellness section, party shop, and improved pet department; as well as an extensive range of specialist food products, with high-end baker brands such as Schoon and Houwhoek Pies. There is also a strong emphasis on fresh food and convenience. The new store also has wider aisles and seamless floors that allow trolleys to move with limited noise, making for a tranquil supermarket shopping experience.

Checkers believes a primary attraction of the new supermarket will be the numerous in-store departments offering a variety of specialist products, including, the bakery; a deli featuring a wide range of delicacies including the new and exclusive charcuterie range made by Farmer Angus; stone-baked pizzas cooked in the in-house open-flame pizza oven, as well as a selection of meats and veggies expertly prepared on an imported rodizio grill; the on-site food truck serving prego rolls, hamburgers, and boerewors rolls made with Checkers’ famous Championship Boerewors; dedicated health and wellness section; the Kauai store and a sushi bar; as well as a chocolatier bar with locally-made, hand-crafted artisanal chocolates created by My Sugar. Checkers Hyper Brackenfell also has a temperature-controlled wine section with wines from over 100 leading estates – more international wines than any other supermarket in South Africa – along with French champagne and the widest range of Italian Prosecco. The room is equipped with innovative digital screens that customers can use to search for wines according to various factors, like price points, and cheese and food pairing recommendations.

TFG supports local manufacturing development

The recently announced introduction of duty rebates on woven fabrics is a clear indication of DTIC’s dedication to furthering the localisation of manufacturing in South Africa, which local retailer TFG says it supports, as this initiative will undoubtedly improve the competitiveness of the local clothing industry and will bring significant change to the domestic mills that are still in operation. However, the group urges Government to also urgently consider the removal of all duty on yarns. This change is essential to supporting larger purchases of locally made fabrics. In addition, further investment to support the upgrading of domestic fabric mills will ensure that they can manufacture rapidly evolving fashion fabrics. These interventions, combined with the recently announced duty rebate, will assist in further boosting DTIC’s bold interventions in South Africa’s retail-clothing value chain.

“In our on-going support of DTIC’s retail-CTFL Masterplan and the growth of local manufacturing, TFG continues to pursue initiatives and collaborations that drive the realisation of the Masterplan’s objectives that will ultimately drive larger-scale manufacturing employment in South Africa. We are directly committed to this critical task through our manufacturing facilities, which have been upgraded and expanded over the last few years and which are successfully increasing their sales into our various retail channels,” said TFG CEO, Anthony Thunström. TFG has recently agreed to sponsor a Future Manufacturing post at the Toyota Wessels Institute for Manufacturing Studies (TWIMS) in Durban. The funding intends to enable the exploration of new business models in the manufacturing sector, especially those relating to rapidly emerging digital technologies that are likely to re-shape the R-CTFL value chain in the next few years. “South African manufacturing capability must advance quickly over the next decade. TFG is eager to support initiatives focused on developing world-class management capabilities needed to drive South Africa’s localisation strategy,” added Thunström.

Although the number of people employed in their supply chain is expected to grow substantially, there are almost no black production managers. To address this gap and as part of TFG’s Transformation journey, February also marks the launch of TFG Manufacturing’s Black Production Management Development Academy and its innovative two-year Quick Response focused curriculum. This genuinely pioneering programme is likely to be a critical enabler of TFG’s local expansion strategy.

2Engage grows its African footprint

Based and operational out of South Africa, 2Engage has a presence in 11 African countries including Angola, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. With over 200 rewards and benefit partners, 2Engage connects companies in the fields of banking, mobile, insurance, debt collection, retail, as well as a large number of subscription-based products, with these partners to deliver value to customers. Andrew Weinberg, CEO of 2Engage and wholly owned subsidiary Retail Engage, says that 2Engage has developed numerous rewards and loyalty programmes that have proven to grow customer acquisition, retention, and reinforce value-enhancing behaviour in the African markets where it operates.

“One of the latest projects that we have designed and implemented, is the Sanlam Premium Rewards programme which launched in Kenya in November last year. This programme is aimed at providing Sanlam Life policy holders with monthly rewards for timely payment of their life insurance premiums. We are starting to see notable results in the early stages of the programme and are pleased to be reporting positive shifts in member behaviours related to the benefits and rewards offered as well as the structure of the rewards programme itself.” Weinberg says that given these successes the time is right to expand the Pan-African market. “The Covid pandemic has plunged the world into a socioeconomic crisis and customers have adopted fundamental shifts in their behaviour as they aggressively try to save money. Discretionary spending is subdued, and customer loyalty is tested as they battle with prioritising their spend, resulting in erratic customer behaviour across many industry sectors. This has been costly to businesses servicing these markets.”

In recent research conducted by 2Engage on behalf of clients reaching several African markets, results showed that the most desired benefits by the clients’ customers were, in order of preference: discounts, cash back and points to redeem on monthly expenditure such as groceries, healthcare, household retail, transport, mobile and data; value-added benefits and assistance services including short-term insurance, access to free emergency assistance, health and wellness support and educational support services; lifestyle-orientated surprise and delight rewards in travel, entertainment food and beverage.

This week in numbers


Dis-Chem Pharmacies has initiated two skills development programmes for its motorcycle and truck drivers to reinforce a key priority of driver safety. The retail pharmacy group is sending 198 motorcycle delivery drivers on an advanced motorcycle drivers’ training programme and is piloting anti-hijack training for truck drivers. According to Caryn Eliasov-Barker, Dis-Chem’s HR director, the training forms part of the group’s focus on health and wellbeing. “Our drivers are on the road all day every day, providing a valuable service to customers, but they are continually exposed to road and traffic dangers. It is critical that we improve their road safety skills to ensure better outcomes for our drivers and customers. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic saw a significant increase in demand for online deliveries, and while improving road safety skills and awareness has obvious health and safety benefits, there is an upside of increased efficiency and productivity in terms of meeting ever-growing demand for online services. While we have worked hard to meet increased delivery demands, it showcased the very necessary requirement to boost driver safety and road rules awareness.”

QUOTE of the week:

“The rentals in malls have become astronomically expensive and landlords, in most instances, have offered very little support for the smaller retailers. The answer for many of these smaller retailers may lie in a change of mindset and a breakaway from traditional retail thinking. Solutions may be found within the office rental sector,” said Retailing Africa’s retail analyst and columnist, Dave Nemeth, the founder of Trend Forward, on Retailing Africa this week.


*Stocktake is a weekly roundup of current FMCG retailing and brand news, curated and edited by Retailing Africa Publisher & Editor, Louise Burgers. Keep the industry updated and send your announcements and news to:



Louise Burgers is the Publisher and Editor and Co-Founder of She has spent over 20 years writing about the FMCG retailing, marketing, media and advertising industry in South Africa and on the African continent. She has specialised in local and Africa consumer trends and is a passionate Afro-optimist who believes it is Africa’s time to rise again and that the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will be a global gamechanger in the next decade.


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