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Pick n Pay celebrates 49 years

| On the move

Forty-nine years ago, founder of Pick n Pay Raymond Ackerman took a bold step. He’d just been fired from his job and was walking around Zoo Lake in Johannesburg wondering what he was going to say to his wife when he got home.

The young couple had three children and a fourth on the way. If ever a man in retail was handed a bag of lemons, this was it.

What happened next is probably the best-known story of the birth of a retail giant in South Africa.

With what Ackerman called “10% capital and 90% guts”, Pick n Pay was founded with four small stores. Not even he could have foreseen this ambitious dream becoming such a huge part of South African life in a few short years.

From fighting monopolies and cartels to the opening of the first hypermarket, from clashing with the apartheid government to the launch of No Name value brands and online shopping, Pick n Pay has pioneered so much of what is now taken for granted, and today it is one of the most trusted brands in South Africa.

In the early days of Pick n Pay’s history, competitors tried everything to shut down the new supermarket group, but Ackerman persisted by focusing on the most important thing – its customers. Today, Pick n Pay employs more than 70 000 people, has more than 1 100 stores in Africa, and still operates on its founding principle that doing good is good business.

Adrian Naudé, group executive marketing says: “It’s an incredible success story. To celebrate everything that’s good about Pick n Pay on our birthday, we’re following tradition by giving a gift to our customers. Our people have worked hard to secure the best deals, and we have fantastic promotions and fun planned in our stores,” he says.

In 49 years, Pick n Pay has become part of the landscape of South Africa in a way that few other retail businesses can claim to have done.

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