Africa: ecommerce developments, market entries

Date : 29 November 2019

Following initiatives from South Africa-based Checkers, Pick n Pay, results from the same country’s Woolworths and reports of Carrefour’s market entry into Uganda, we round up news from the region.

Checkers launches one-hour delivery option

Checkers is set to introduce a one-hour delivery option under the Sixty60 brand name. Initially launched at selected stores in the Western Cape and Gauteng provinces, the name is meant to represent how shoppers can complete orders in 60 seconds and have the orders delivered in 60 minutes. Commenting on the service’s introduction, Checkers’ chief of innovation and strategy, Neil Schreuder, said: “ In our time-pressed society, providing consumers with a swift, on-demand grocery delivery service is like giving them back time: today’s most precious commodity.”

Pick n Pay to relaunch Livewell range

As it looks to drive differentiation in the country, Pick n Pay is preparing to relaunch its Livewell private label range in January 2020. As part of the initiative it will introduce new packaging, while expanding it with the addition of 150 new products to existing range of 330 items. New products will include items from juice specialist Kauai, healthy frozen ready-to-eat meals, sides and smoothies.

Woolworths reports sales growth in trading update

Woolworths released a trading update saying group sales rose 2.2%, and by 2.9% in constant currency terms, during the 20-week period ending 11 November. In its home market it said food sales increased by 8.8%, with comparable sales up by 6.5%. While prices rose by 5.4% and net space growth stood at 3.6%, Woolworths said it had enjoyed ‘positive volume growth and continued to grow market share’. The retailer reported it continued to face challenges in Australia, where it recently opened its first forecourt store in conjunction with BP.

Majid Al Futtaim to bring Carrefour to Uganda…

Reports suggest Majid Al Futtaim is gearing up to open its first two Carrefour branded stores in Uganda in the short term. The stores will be opened at the Oasis Mall, located along Yusuf Lule Road, and at the Metroplex Mall in Naalya.

…As Choppies prepares to exit Kenya

Choppies is preparing to close its stores in the city of Kisumu by January 2020 as it looks to complete its exit of the country in the medium term.

Copia fund raising underlines growing competition in Kenya

Ecommerce and logistics start-up Copia has raised US$26m as part of a Series B funding programme. Copia focuses on low-income shoppers living outside the country’s major cities and meeting their needs through the use of a network of 5,000 agents, who are usually local, small shopkeepers who earn commissions by serving as “points of aggregation of orders and delivery distribution.”

The company’s system works by enabling shoppers to make orders in the stores, rather than requiring them to make them online or through their mobile phones. However, shoppers can also use its web site and mobile phones, but they are not its main channels of engagement. This mitigates delivery issues and helps Copia build relationships in local areas through its shopkeepers’ relationships.