Skip to main content

How much money South Africa’s biggest Supermarkets made in 2016

| Economic factors

Determining which South African supermarket is the biggest depends on which factor you want to measure by. Shoprite, with a pan-African operation is by far the biggest seller, bringing in revenue exceeding R130 billion in 2016, and it is also the biggest profit-spinner with operating profit of R7.2 billion recorded for the same year.

But if you measure “biggest” by store network, then Spar is by far the largest, with 3,765 stores across the group – and 2,033 in South Africa alone. This is far larger than Shoprite’s 1,519 stores across Africa.

If you are looking at the average profit for each store, Massmart (Makro, Dion Wired, Game) has the biggest per-store take, with an average of R6 million in profit at each of its 412 stores.

Shoprite is also the biggest employer among the major retailers – staffing close to 138,000 people across its operations – but it also pays the lowest average salary. Here, again, players like Massmart and even Spar, come in as ‘better’ employers.

Delving into the finances of South Africa’s biggest supermarket retailers, the tables below show how each group measures up when looking at these various metrics.

The data below reflects group operations, including stores and employees in countries outside of South Africa. All subsidiary brands of the groups are included.

The data below reflects the latest full year financial information available for 2016, and can be found here:

Revenue and operating profit



Operating Profit


R130.028 billion

R7.278 billion


R66.978 billion

R6.969 billion


R90.700 billion

R2.600 billion


R91.250 billion

R2.483 billion

Pick n Pay

R77.500 billion

R1.774 billion

Number of stores and average turnover / profit per store

Spar far outnumbers other retailers in South Africa, with total group stores (including those in Ireland and Switzerland) hitting 3,765. Even taking only the South African stores (2,033), it is the largest retailer.

Spar’s South African stores account for the biggest portion of the group profit (R2.1 billion), which is the amount reflected below.


Number of stores

Average profit per store



R6.07 million


1 395

R4.99 million


1 519

R4.79 million

Pick n Pay

1 504

R1.18 million


2 033

R1.03 million

Number of employees and average salary per employee

The average salaries below reflect the rand value paid to all employees across the entire group – including operations outside of South Africa.


Number of employees

Employee salaries

Average salary per employee


13 139

R7.3 billion

R555 597


6 387

R3.422 billion

R535 775


43 140

R8.850 billion

R205 146

Pick n Pay

52 900*

R5.597 billion

R105 803


137 775

R10.356 billion

R75 166

* Reflects Pick n Pay employee numbers as at June 2016

CEO pay

Executive pay listed below is total remuneration including basic salary and short and long-term incentives. The salary gaps reflect how many more times executives earn than the average employee in their company.



CEO pay

Average employee wage gap


Whitey Basson

R100.1 million

1 331

Pick n Pay

Richard Brasher

R33.8 million



Ian Moir

R53.7 million



Guy Hayward

R13.8 million



Graham O’Connor

R9.1 million



Related Articles

South Africans predicted to spend R224bn this f...

According to the results from the sixth annual Summer Spending Survey by short-term lender Wonga, South Africans are expected to spend an estimated R224 billion over this year’s festive season.

Grocery budgets: Say goodbye to these foods as ...

By: IOL Business Fried chips, potato salad, baked or roasted potatoes, and stews and curries with potatoes – whichever your favourite, you may have to do without if you have any hope of spending less on groceries in the coming weeks. And don’t p...

Black Friday shoppers spent R4.5bn, with jewell...

By: TimesLive Black Friday 2023 levels reflected tougher economic conditions in South Africa, but sales totalled R4.5bn.

December fuel price outlook is good news for bo...

By: IOL With a week to go until December’s fuel price sums are finalised, the outlook is positive for both petrol and diesel.

Smart shopping tips to get the most out of your...

South Africans are no strangers to the struggle of maximising their hard-earned rands, particularly when it comes to grocery shopping. In today's economic landscape, the increasing food costs are having a widespread impact, causing financial strai...