Nov 28, 2013
Shoprite Checkers celebrated the opening of its 1000th supermarket in Africa with a new generation Checkers store that opened its doors for trading in the Western Cape on Thursday, 28 November 2013. Checkers Zevenwacht is located in the Shoprite Group’s newly developed shopping centre, Langverwacht Plein, in Kuils River.
This supermarket is one of the 129 new supermarkets that the Group will open across Africa between July 2013 and June 2014, twenty of which will be outside of South Africa’s borders
Commenting on this significant milestone, Shoprite Group CEO Whitey Basson said that it is fitting for the 1000th supermarket in the Group to be branded Checkers since he regards the acquisition of the ailing Checkers chain of 170 supermarkets in 1991 to be one of the biggest challenges in his career in retail that spans four decades.
“The eight Shoprite supermarkets we purchased during November 1979 was only the start of the development of what today is the largest supermarket chain in South Africa and the African continent. We realised that to fast-track the Group’s growth trajectory, we had to embark on a series of acquisitions and turn those businesses into profitability fast. We also wanted to be the supermarket group with the lowest prices in the country.
“This strategy has paid off for us. It placed us at the forefront of supermarket retailing in Africa and in a business with over 1460 outlets on the continent consisting of supermarket brands serving consumers across all income groups, as well as furniture stores, liquor stores and a growing fast food chain,” Basson said.
Thirty-four years after that first acquisition, the Shoprite Group is receiving one accolade after another. Recently its flagship brand, Shoprite has once again been honoured in the The Times / Sowetan Retail Awards with the Grand Prix award as top retailer overall in South Africa for the fifth consecutive year. The chain also claimed the award for providing the best Overall Customer Experience.
According to the latest AMPS research (July 2013) 70% of adults in the country now shop at Shoprite Checkers, serving the largest customer base in South Africa with 26 million shoppers.
With the provision of opportunities for people to make something out of their lives and create a future for their children being close to his heart, Basson also commented on the scale of jobs that the Group has created.
“Looking back, what is even more gratifying than having built a company with a turnover of R93 billion and a market capitalisation of R100 billion, is that we were able to not only save the jobs of thousands of people in those companies we took over, but also create so many more opportunities for people to earn a living and in turn provide a future for generations after them.
“During the last financial year (to June 2013) the Group created a record number of new job opportunities in one year; 9201 and today the Shoprite Group employs more than 114 000 people in total. Checkers Zevenwacht has seen some 190 new job opportunities created,” he said.
Langverwacht Plein is the Shoprite Group’s own property development and will also be home to the 209th LiquorShop in the Group.
Photograph: Pictured in front of the 1000th supermarket, Checkers Zevenwacht, is (fltr) Shoprite Group CEO, Whitey Basson, Mrs South Africa, Chané de Kock and well-known local entertainer, Nataniël.