PNA resilience: The art of growth in uncertain times
With a current 87 stores across South Africa and its newest one to open in the popular East Rand Retail Park on 16 October and one at Hyde Park Corner on 22 October. PNA continues to cement its position as a market leader in the retail industry and provider of unique customer experiences in a specialist sector that comprises stationery, art and craft materials, educational books, toys and other related products.
The Covid-19 Pandemic has shown that businesses with the ability to quickly tailor existing products, offerings and services to new consumer needs is essential to regain stability and create growth. Historical business models and data are no longer useful. Ongoing and localised insights into shifting customer situations, behaviour and demand patterns are crucial.
Herman Botha, Group General Manager explains “PNA’s business model flexibility has allowed for agility and rapid scaling during these disruptive times. We have maintained our customers' trust as we reset around their needs, including how they want to buy and receive service.”
As a franchisor, PNA’s business model varies from the traditional franchise models to enable store owners to tailor their product offering to meet the needs of their immediate communities.
“Our long-term strategic ambition has been to respond to demand. For example,” Botha notes, “a PNA in a university town may be more focused on the needs of students, while one based in a business district would have more office supplies. This means each franchise can cater to a profitable sector of their community, while still carrying the goods all consumers would expect from the PNA brand.
” This model has also allowed us to respond swiftly to the changed behavioural patterns in business and individuals. There has been a resurgence in traditional family game evenings, arts and crafts and reading. On top of that, home offices sprang up around the country. PNA’s culture of encouraging franchise owners to cultivate the agility required to adapt rapidly means they’ve been able to stock up for remote workers’ business needs,”
Despite the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, PNA has opened 3 new stores and announced that it plans to open 8 new stores nationally by the end of 2020 bringing the store count to 95 nationally. In the 28 years since its inception, PNA has proved its mettle within a demanding sector and as a franchise operation. Importantly, it has weighed up risk versus reward for both the company and its franchisees.
Operating within an established segment in the customer market means there is usually limited risk. Franchisees also have their businesses' interest firmly at heart and are well supported by an operational and in-store support team at the Franchisor Office.
“The PNA business model is tried and tested and works well, so our franchisees feel safe having robust resources at their disposal. We continually adapt operations to simplify communications and processes while boosting efficiency. Importantly, we really care about the people we work with and despite our exponential growth, we remain true to our core of family values” Botha concludes.