Stocktake: Ho, ho, ho, Christmas is a go

Looks like some of our retailers may be unwrapping Christmas in October - let's hope all the stock arrives in time for the festive season!

Looks like some of our retailers may be unwrapping Christmas in October again after the long, sad Winter Third Wave. Let’s just hope that despite all the chaos in global supply chains currently, that stock is actually delivered in time for the retail high season. We could all use a little more joy.

National Consumer Commission investigates juice contamination

The National Consumer Commission (NCC) has launched an investigation into the conduct of Elgin Fruit Juice, the supplier of 100% Apple Juice Concentrate. This follows a recent recall of 100% Apple Juice by Coca-Cola Beverages, Pioneer Foods and Woolworths. In a very ‘direct’ statement on the NCC website, acting National Consumer Commissioner Thezi Mabuza says, that based on information provided to the NCC, “the NCC has reasonable grounds to believe that Elgin Fruit Juice supplied goods that are unsafe or pose a potential risk to the public”. Mabuza believes that the investigation will help the Commission understand the nature, causes, extent and degree of the risk to the public. “The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) emphasises that every consumer has a right to receive goods that are safe and of good quality. If the investigation reveals that Elgin Fruit Juice (PTY) LTD contravened the provisions of the CPA, the Commission will refer the matter to the National Consumer Tribunal where we will be praying for an administrative fine of 10% of their total annual turnover, or R1 million, whichever is the greater,” she added. “The purpose and policy of the CPA amongst others, is to promote fair business practices while protecting consumers and ensuring that consumers enjoy their right to safe and good quality goods. We will not allow a situation where the health of consumers is compromised,” she concluded.

In the past week, Pioneer Foods recalled certain 100% apple juice products under the LiquiFruit brand in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia; and under the Ceres brand for exports (not within SA borders). The investigation to date by Pioneer Foods has confirmed that a limited quantity of apple juice concentrate contained elevated levels of patulin. Patulin is a naturally occurring mycotoxin commonly associated with apples. The recall is based on the presence of this mycotoxin (patulin) exceeding 50 parts per billion (microgram/kg) which is the regulatory threshold.

Massmart acquires OneCart to expand ecommerce delivery

Massmart has reached agreement to acquire 87.5% of the issued shares in OneCart. As a fast moving consumer goods marketplace and logistics platform, OneCart partners with leading retailers in South Africa to enable fast, flexible and efficient online sales and home delivery to consumers across the country. This transaction adds another dimension to Massmart’s omni-channel retail offering and enhances their strategy of meeting customers where they want to be met. Commenting on the announcement, vice-president: group ecommerce at Massmart, Sylvester John, said: “We are excited by the opportunities that this acquisition presents. eCommerce continues to grow rapidly, both in South Africa and for Massmart, contributing up to 3-4% participation in overall retail sales. We don’t expect this growth trend to change and have embarked on implementing the fundamental building blocks required for a strong ecommerce offering. This includes, but is not limited to, on demand retail.”

The platform provides consumers access to a host of complimentary product categories via a single shopping interface, allowing the company to further expand its capabilities in the fast growing on-demand delivery segment, while continuing to support the independent retailer marketplace model of OneCart. “It is our intention to maintain and grow the diverse and competitive retail composition of the OneCart platform, whilst also investing significantly in the underlying technical platform, in-store picking processes, and last mile distribution, toward further enhancing the customer experience. We look forward to supporting and learning from the team at OneCart and expanding our ability to serve customers more effectively,” concluded John.

TFG invests in Granny Goose and Cotton Traders

TFG, has acquired the local bedding, duvet and pillows brand Granny Goose and the associated manufacturer, Cotton Traders. The Granny Goose products will be available exclusively to TFG’s @home brand. The acquisition will result in the over 235 Granny Goose & Cotton Traders employees joining the Group. “This most recent acquisition of local brand Granny Goose exemplifies TFG’s commitment to harnessing innovation and home-grown talent. It also enhances our growth strategy in local manufacturing,” says Shani Naidoo, group retail director at TFG.

Granny Goose is a family business that opened its doors more than 25 years ago. The Granny Goose high quality premium product range will be extended to more @home stores and increase its online presence. This will include the Gosling collection for babies and children. TFG has in the last five years created a diversified local supply chain. This has not only reduced its reliance on international imports but has also supported the local economy through job creation. “The acquisition of the iconic Granny Goose brand and of Cotton Traders extends our focused strategy to increase the contribution we are making to manufacture and grow local products in South Africa for our retail brands,” says Naidoo. “Since Granny Goose will be exclusive to @home, it will give us a competitive advantage in the high quality, premium linen and duvet sector.”

Loeries finalists show creative excellence is thriving during pandemic

The Loeries finalists have been announced for 2021 and the finalists demonstrate continued strong creativity, innovation, and fresh thinking, according to the Loeries CEO Preetesh Sewraj. “The brand communications industry, across Africa and the Middle East, faced strong headwinds over the past year but the finalists are testament to the power of creativity to prevail against the strongest challenges,” says Sewraj. The Loeries, the highest accolade in the advertising and brand communication industry in Africa and the Middle East, promotes and supports creativity by helping brands, agencies and consumers appreciate the value of ideas and creative excellence. The Loeries recognises work in the following main categories: Effective Creativity, Shared Value, Service Design, Integrated Campaign, Young Creatives, Digital Communication, Design, Live Communications, Media Innovation, Out of Home, Print Communications, Radio and Audio, Live Communication, PR & Media Communication and Media Innovation, Film and Student Awards. Loeries Creative Week will be held in the City of Cape Town this year, from Wednesday, 20 October to Saturday, 23 October; and will be a fusion of physical events and a cinematic experience at theatres around South Africa. The Loeries Creative Week also offers a programme of Masterclasses. All the finalists, further event details and ticket information can be found at

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle go the tills

Are you ready? It’s here… Christmas in sneaking into retailers a little earlier than last year, given we were all shell-shocked from Covid lockdowns; and most retailers were still trying to get rid of unsold, repurposed Easter stock in 2020. Got to say, I do love Woolies’ local take on an African Christmas, with the coolest penguin in shades and sandals with bells on them; alongside a festive giraffe. My ‘homegrown single-kid consumer panel’ immediately updated their Christmas list!

Birkenstock debuts concept store in Sandton City

Birkenstock, the German lifestyle brand with a heritage in iconic footwear, is strengthening its retail presence in South Africa with the launch of a new concept store in Sandton City, providing the brand with a premium home to serve its growing customer base in Johannesburg. As the inventor of the footbed, Birkenstock is popularly known for comfort and functionality, with a history that can be traced as far back as 1774. This expansion comes as a testimony to increased demand from new customers across South Africa. The new stores are aesthetically created, keeping in mind the legacy of the brand; and at prime consumer locations to ensure maximum visibility. The Sandton store follows the launch of the Birkenstock’s concept store at Cavendish Square, Cape Town, in February 2021. The new concept store also reflects the brand’s commitment to using sustainable raw materials such as natural cork, natural latex and jute. This close relationship with nature is reflected in the store’s fittings with earthy colours and natural interior design elements to emphasise the brand’s philosophy.


Macy’s is fighting the Amazon billboard atop its iconic New York store. Saying it would cause “immeasurable” harm to its business, Macy’s filed a lawsuit asking a court to prevent a real estate company from allowing to advertise on a billboard connected to the department store’s Herald Square location in New York City. The lawsuit, filed in New York State Supreme Court on Friday, said the contract Macy’s signed with the real estate company, Kaufman Organization, to advertise on the billboard — set atop a five-story building located next to the iconic 34th Street Macy’s department store — expired in August. Since 1963, the advertiser had been prohibited from allowing a Macy’s competitor to advertise on the 2,220-square-foot billboard.

The Home Depot will be the first retail client for Walmart’s new delivery-as-a-service business. This will give Walmart a customer with multi-billion dollars worth of online sales to fulfill. Qualified products will include tools, fasteners, paint, and will continue to expand over the next few months.

New Amazon department stores signal that physical retail lives on. Amazon has a long-term road map to transform retail in the US and the world. For the broader retail industry, this signals that physical retail stores are still an integral part of consumer shopping journeys and shouldn’t be deprioritised amid the shift to ecommerce. While there has undoubtedly been a massive shift towards online shopping, 80 percent of all retail sales occur in the “real world“.

MarketForce, a Kenyan company providing B2B distribution for retail clients, is expanding in the wake of a recent funding round. As Disrupt Africa reported, the company plans to begin operations in Nigeria, helping merchants with FMCG (fastmoving commercial goods) issues. “Africa is reported to have over 100 million merchants,” said Tesh Mbaabu, the company’s co-founder and CEO. “A whopping 40 million of them are in Nigeria, with the highest annual FMCG purchasing in the whole continent, signifying how significant the market opportunity is for MarketForce.”

As employees make their return to in-person office work, Nike will require all office-based employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Neiman Marcus Group said last week it had notified about 4.6 million online customers that their personal information, including names, contact information and credit card numbers, may have been accessed in a data hack. The high-end department store chain said it notified law enforcement authorities about the data breach, which it said happened in May, already.

*Additional sources: Perch, Total Retail Report, Disrupt Africa, Kantar,

This week in numbers


Eastgate Shopping Centre in Johannesburg has donated R300,000 of its parking income to the Gift of the Givers Foundation. This non-profit organisation will use the funds to provide food parcels to communities in need within the Ekurhuleni municipality. The Gift of the Givers Foundation is the largest disaster response, non-governmental organisation of African origin on the African continent. It works to unite people with a common vision, to make a real difference by serving mankind for the greater good.

QUOTE of the week:

“If an employee was to refuse to be vaccinated in spite of the company’s mandatory vaccination policy, this may be grounds for dismissal due to operational incapacity. However, this would need to be assessed on a case by case basis having due regard to both the employer and the employee’s particular circumstances,” said Nikita Theodosiou, an Associate at Consilium Legal, on Retailing Africa this past week.



Main image credit: Birkenstock.


*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:


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