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Food Lover’s trading up 24% amid tough conditions

| Retailer trading results

Food Lovers’s Market says its groceries and perishables were up 37 percent for the year and 44 percent for the past six months.

Food Lovers’s Market was ahead of its competitors with a 24 percent increase in trading over a six-month period from April to September while growing its number of stores based on a report by global measurement and data analytics company Nielsen, the unlisted fresh produce retailer said yesterday.

Nielsen’s statistics were reported at the end of September and reflected trading during the challenging retail conditions presented by the Covid19 pandemic. The trading data was based on a defined basket of categories, excluding liquor.

However, Food Lover’s Market’s retailer competitors showed an average growth of 8 percent on a defined basket of categories, excluding liquor.

The retailer said it had met the challenges presented by the shifting retail landscape during Covid-19 by sticking to a tried-and-tested recipe of offering fantastic value, increasing its range of groceries and perishables to create a one-stop-shop retail experience, and ensuring that stores exceeded expectations when implementing preventative Covid-19 hygiene protocols.

Brian Coppin, the chief executive of Food Lover’s Market, said: “As a group, we have worked tirelessly to ensure consistency of supply to meet the needs of the communities we serve. We understood from the onset that the pandemic would have a ripple effect on the economy and shopper behaviour. We knew that the negative impact on consumer confidence and the household budget would see consumers placing a high premium on the three key areas of hygiene, value and variety. Fortunately, we were able to hit it out of the park as we were already geared to deliver on all of these expectations.”

Food Lover’s Market said its groceries and perishables were up by 37 percent for the year and 44 percent for the past six months.

The butchery category saw a sixmonth trading increase of 22 percent, the bakery increased by 23 percent, while the fresh produce department enjoyed a 26 percent increase during the same period.

The retailer said that with R250 million invested in opening new stores and refurbishments across the country in the past six months, it was confident that it would be able to sustain this growth in the future.

“Our 16.3 percent increase in overall trading over the last 12 months – which excludes liquor and includes tobacco and hot foods – creates a strong platform to build from for the future and indicates that our Best in Fresh brand promise is a strategy that continues to deliver to the needs of the customer.”

JSE-listed Shoprite flagged earlier this month that alcohol sales and transportation affected its performance during the quarter to the end of September, despite increasing its sales during the period.

The group said sales increased 6 percent during the quarter under review, but the lockdown restrictions, which saw its LiquorShop closed for 60 of the 91 days in the quarter, managed only a modest 3.3 percent hike.

Pick n Pay reported in October that in the six months ended August its trading profit fell 25.4 percent to R885.6m from R1 billion a year earlier. Turnover increased 2.6 percent to R44.2bn up from R43.1bn during the six months ended September 2019. Turnover from South African operations was up 3.4 percent to R42.7bn from R41.3bn in 2019.

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