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How Shoprite left Pick n Pay in its dust

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By: Daily Investor

 produced an excellent analysis of Shoprite and Pick n Pay’s performance over the past 20 years, which revealed how Shoprite has outperformed its closest rival.

In October 2023, Pick n Pay announced that it replaced former CEO Pieter Boone with Sean Summers, who was Pick n Pay’s CEO between 1999 and 2007.

To understand this drastic action, one must consider Pick n Pay’s performance under Summers and Boone.

Summers is a Pick n Pay stalwart who worked for the company from 1974 to 2007. He became managing director in 1996 and CEO in 1999.

During his tenure as CEO, Summers made Pick n Pay the clear grocery market leader in South Africa.

During Summers’ tenure as CEO, he achieved an average annual revenue growth rate of 16% annually.

Pick n Pay’s growth rate was significantly higher than Shoprite’s average annual revenue growth rate of 11% over the same period.

Pick n Pay also generated more revenue than Shoprite during this period, passing Shoprite’s revenue from 2003 to 2007.

Under Boone, Pick n Pay achieved an average annual revenue growth rate of 6.1%. Over the same period, Shoprite achieved an average annual revenue growth rate of 11.5%.

Pick n Pay’s earnings also suffered under Boone and did not keep up with its main competitor.

Boone achieved an average annual net income growth rate of 0.95% compared to the average net income growth rate at Shoprite of 22% over the same period.

Unsurprisingly, Pick n Pay’s share price performed very poorly under the leadership of Boone, falling by 32% since he took the reins in 2021.

This is translated to a compounded annual loss of 14% over the 2-and-a-half-year period.

Under Summers, Pick n Pay’s share price increased by 476%. This translates to an annual compounded rate of return of 24%.

This shows why the Ackerman family asked Summers to return as chief executive to fix the company and return it to its former glory.

Shoprite versus Pick n Pay

The Outlier has produced an excellent analysis of Shoprite and Pick n Pay’s performance over the last 20 years, which is reproduced below with permission.

In 2007, Shoprite and Pick n Pay were on par in almost every respect: They had roughly the same revenue and employed the same number of people — around 60,000.

The only difference was that Shoprite had more stores — 1,180 versus Pick n Pay’s 762 stores.

Just over a decade later, things are very different. Shoprite started pulling ahead of Pick n Pay in 2008.

Since then, Shoprite has rapidly increased its dominance of the grocery sector by most metrics.

Shoprite reigned supreme in the number of stores, revenue, employees and even African footprint, making it the biggest supermarket chain in Africa.

Revenue

In 2023, Shoprite reported an annual revenue of R215 billion, which is R106 billion more than Pick n Pay for the same period.

Take a moment to absorb that number. That means that Shoprite makes more than R4 billion a week in revenue, or nearly R600 million a day.

Those are eye-watering numbers. Even people inside Shoprite seem awed by the success.

Shoprite CEO Pieter Engelbrecht said, “I joined Shoprite in 1997, and in those days, it took 19 years to earn R10 billion in revenue. Today, we earn R10 billion in revenue every 15 days.”

Number of stores

Except for a brief time in the early 2010s, Shoprite always had more stores than Pick n Pay. Over the last three years, it has been on a new store drive.

Started as an 8-store family franchise in the Western Cape in 1979, Shoprite now has more than 3,500 stores and adds a new store daily.

Between 2014 and 2023, the number of stores — including franchises — increased from 1,581 to 3,543. At the same time, Pick n Pay went from 1,128 to 2,204 stores.

Number of employees

In 2023, Shoprite employed 153,726 employees, more than 60,000 more than Pick n Pay.

In its most recent quarterly report, the company reports that employee numbers are now over 160,000, more than 7,000 higher.

This makes Shoprite the largest employer in South Africa after the government. Pick n Pay’s employee numbers have been relatively static since 2019.

Home deliveries

Shoprite’s Checkers Sixty60 and Pick n Pay’s ASAP delivery apps have both made large inroads into South African culture.

It’s difficult to get exact numbers on home deliveries and app downloads. However, Checkers Sixty60 seems to be ahead with its service covering 505 locations versus Pick n Pay’s 400.

Both services claim more than 4 million downloads of their apps. In its 2023 integrated report, Pick n Pay reported ‘over 4 million installs,’ while, in a recent promo video, Checkers Sixty60 claimed 4.5 million downloads of their app.

African footprint

While almost 90% of Shoprite’s stores are in South Africa, it has a presence in 9 other countries.

Its footprint includes Namibia (163 stores), Eswatini (62) and Zambia (52). Almost all of these are in Southern and Eastern Africa, but it does have seven stores in Ghana.

Until 2020, Shoprite also had stores in Nigeria, but it sold them to local operator Ketron in August of that year.

Over 90% of Pick n Pay’s stores are in South Africa. The remaining stores are in 7 countries, including Zimbabwe (72) and Namibia (35).

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