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Turnover: R 77.500bnTrading Profit: R 13.900bnTrading Margin: 17.94%
Stores: 1,560Employees: 80,000
Listed: Yes
Pick n Pay


Pick n Pay is a retail business in the fast moving consumer goods industry on the African continent – that believes doing good, is good business.

It was 1967 when consumer champion Raymond Ackerman purchased the first four Pick n Pay stores in Cape Town. Since then the Group’s vision has grown and expanded to encompass stores in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Swaziland and Lesotho. In addition, Pick n Pay owns a 49% share of a Zimbabwean supermarket chain, TM Supermarkets.

We procure quality products at the best available prices. By operating a lean and efficient business,
supported by a strong and talented team, we are able to provide our customers with a tailored range of high-quality food, grocery and general merchandise products at competitive prices. Through our ongoing investment in the customer offer, we are able to drive sales and grow value for all our stakeholders.


The Pick n Pay Group developed its strategic turnaround plan in 2014. Its objective is to restore the business to a position of long-term sustainable growth. In promulgating the plan, the Group explained that a sustainable recovery would need to be achieved in a planned, considered and balanced way over a number of years, avoiding short-term actions which might weaken the business in the longer term.

The strategic focus of the business:

Focus here is on delivering a first-class fresh, convenience and grocery offer, which gives customers unbeatable prices, value and service. The business is also developing a strong multi-platform and multi-channel retail offer, including standalone clothing and liquor stores and a burgeoning online business. In addition, the Group aims to continue to build its Boxer business into a thriving national limited-range discount format, and to continue to grow sales outside South Africa in a planned and prudent way.


Focus here is on completing the centralisation of the Group’s supply chain and other services,
reducing the cost and improving the accuracy and responsiveness of distribution. The Group also aims to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of its employee costs, both in stores and in its head office structures, while minimising increases in rentals, rates, electricity, water and other charges.

The Group regards a sustained improvement in its underlying profit margin as a lead indicator of
progress in achieving a balanced turnaround characterised both by sustained sales growth and
greater operating efficiency.


We have made good progress over the past year, despite a challenging environment for consumers and for business. We have recorded eight consecutive reporting periods of turnover and profit growth.Our business is stronger and more resilient than it was four years ago, and we are on track with our long-term plan. We have stated clearly and consistently that our plan is in three stages. Having achieved stage one, stabilising the Group, we are well embarked on the second stage, which is to change the trajectory of the business. Our strategic objectives in this second stage are organised around seven business acceleration pillars, and I wish briefly to report on our progress in these key areas. Customers have been at the core of our business since its establishment by Raymond Ackerman in 1967. I have made it clear from the outset of my tenure as CEO that our recovery can only be successful and sustainable if it is customer-led as well as cost-driven. Over the past year, sales grew at 7.0%. This reflected a very tough trading environment in which consumers were buffeted as real incomes lagged the steep rise in food inflation and other costs. It also reflected the disruptive impact of store refurbishments as we improve and modernise our estate.

Despite these impacts, our business is getting better for customers. By running a better business, we were able to restrict selling price inflation within our business to 6.1%, compared with food CPI at 11.0%. We have also improved the range, quality and value of our fresh offer. Our private label products are a growing part of our offer and we have launched over 1 700 new and repackaged product over the past two years. In this time, private label participation has increased from 15% to 18% of turnover. Our focus on growing private labe will pay even greater dividends as customers seek ever-greater value and convenience. We have continued to improve the quality of our stores, with 62 refurbishments and 150 net new stores over the past year. Our Next Generation store format is proving very popular with customers, and now accounts for almost one-fifth of our South African supermarket estate. Our new space development is also focused on the future, and in particular on growing our convenience formats outside traditional shopping malls. We have quadrupled our number of convenience stores over the past four years, both through our PnP Express collaboration with BP and our Local convenience format. We have made notable progress over the past four years in developing and implementing a lower-cost operating model.

This was exemplified by our ability to restrict the like-for-like increase in our trading expenses to 3% in 2017. Employee costs remains our biggest single operating cost, and we have made substantial progress in improving the productivity, increasing the flexibility and reducing the cost of our store labour. We concluded a three-year labour agreement which delivers fair wage rates and benefits for our employees while lowering our costs and increasing the competitivenes of our business. We have made notable progress on centralising our supply chain over the past four years, with the total volume of goods centralised now at 60%. In our key regions of the Western Cape and Inland, grocery centralisation is at 87% 59 and 68% respectively. A more centralised supply chain delivers numerous benefits including lower costs, more efficient receiving in stores, and better availability for customers. It also complements our work in stores to improve forecasting and replenishment, and on-shelf availability has over the past year been maintained consistently at or above 96%. In its 40th year, our Boxer business has gone from strength to strength. By offering unbeatable prices, it has grown and served customers exceptionally well in a very tough market. It has developed its own next generation format, with a very strong meat, produce and deli offer. The Boxer offer was extended to more customers with 25 new stores opened through the year, and more planned for this year. We remain committed to developing our business in the rest of Africs as an engine for future growth. We opened 12 stores outside South Africa in the past year, and now operate 140 stores in six countries outside our home market. Our Zambia business was resilient in the face of tough economic conditions, responding with strong financial discipline and cost control. TM Supermarkets in Zimbabwe, in which we hold a 49% stake, performed very well despite a tough market, and is benefiting from the refurbishment and rebranding of more stores under the Pick n Pay brand.

We remain on course to open stores in Ghana and Nigeria over the next two years. The progress we’ve made in all of the above areas depends upon the hard-work and dedication of colleagues across the business, as well as our valued franchisees, suppliers and other partners. I want to thank each and every one of them for their continuing contribution to our business, and for helping to serve our customers. The grocery retail industry is again under the spotlight through a market inquiry led by the Competition Commission. We are playing our part in that inquiry. I am determined that the considerable benefits which retail brings to individuals, communities and the economy are fully reflected in the inquiry process. At a time when many sectors are contracting, formal retail continues to grow new jobs. It provides reliable jobs with good prospects for advancement for those prepared to work hard and serve customers well. It is, therefore, a strong vehicle for social advancement, regardless of background, education, creed or ethnicity. Investment in new stores provides employment and confidence for others to invest and grow or regenerate local economies. Small entrepreneurs find in retailers like Pick n Pay, not only sympathetic partners in growth, but access to regional and national markets through our store network and centralised supply chain. Modern grocery retail can be a major partner in delivering many of the government’s policy objectives and we stand ready to work with all stakeholders in the difficult but essential task of strengthening our society and our economy.

We face a challenging outlook for the economy and the retail sector over the coming year. Economic growth is likely to remain low. Business and consumer confidence is muted.
Unemployment remains high. Food price inflation is easing, although the rand remains volatile. An already highly cost-conscious South African consumer is looking for even better prices and value, and is prepared to shop around for them. An operating environment characterised by competition on price and value is the “new normal” in the South African market and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. I am determined that Pick n Pay should be a proactive and successful player in this new normal. As one financial year has drawn to a close, and another has begun, we have taken a number of decisive steps to strengthen our competitiveness:

• We invested R500 million in lowering the prices of 1 300 everyday grocery products in March 2017, with a focus on fresh fruit, vegetables and meat.
• We modernised our Smart Shopper loyalty scheme for customers, introducing instant weekly personalised discounts available either in-store or via our smartphone app. Feedback from customers is positive at a time when shoppers are eeking more immediate help to balance
their household budgets.
• We completed Pick n Pay’s first business-wide voluntary severance programme in May 2017, reducing the number of roles in various areas of the business where better processes, newer technology and improved organisation mean we can operate more efficiently and more cheaply.

Our aim is that the resulting savings in employment costs are reinvested in even better prices and even better value for customers. I am determined that Pick n Pay should begin its second 50 years with the same drive, determination and optimism that characterised its first 50 years.

In difficult times, our customers need our help more than ever, and we will not let them down. We have made a steady and sustained improvement in the way we run our business over the past four years. We are more focused and efficient, and there is more to come in driving greater productivity and delivering better customer service. The shopping trip we offer customers is improving, and our next generation stores are giving our customers confidence in our offer and in the future of Pick n Pay. By delivering a more efficient operation we can invest further in price and value for customers. I am optimistic about the future and believe that – after our first 50 years – the best is yet to come for our customers and for Pick n Pay.

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This year is an important one for Pick n Pay as we celebrate our 50th anniversary. 1967 was not a propitious year in which to start a retail business in South Africa, and building a business in this environment took enormous guts and determination. Raymond and Wendy Ackerman’s 50-year partnership with South African customers and their commitment to South African society has enabled Pick n Pay to become South Africa’s best-loved food retailer. Half a century ago, we could never have imagined the supermarket of today, the sheer pace of change, the demands of today’s consumers and the role of disruptive technology. Despite the massive evolution in world retail, one thing that has not and will not change is our commitment to the core values of consumer sovereignty, business efficiency, and doing good in our communities. Our future, as with our past, lies largely in our own hands. Our commitment to our people and to South Africa means we will resist the temptation to be distracted by political upheaval or short-term economic challenges. We have always and will continue to take the longer-term view: on our country, our economy and our business. This is why we have invested R6 billion in new and refurbished stores over the past four years. It’s why we’ve created over 10 000 new jobs, bringing our staff complement to over 80 000 and making us one of the largest employers in South Africa.

it's also why we ’re celebrating the increasing number of women into decision-making roles, from the Board to store management. It ’s why we are working to transfer skills to spaza shop owners, by building their businesses alongside them and making their enterprises more profitable and sustainable. It’s why we keep growing the number of smaller, ambitious and innovative suppliers into our supply chain. And it’s why we keep investing in South African communities.

In short, we’re getting on with the job of bringing quality and value to our customers, and employment and prosperity to our communities. But for us and others to grow, we need certainty. We need genuine, open engagement. And we need a joint and honest commitment to making South Africa the economic success her people deserve to have. That certainty lies in policy-making. For those of us trading beyond South Africa’s borders, we need policy certainty and co-operation on cross-border trade. For companies relying on the road network to get their goods to market, we need certainty and proper debate about a draft Transport Bill that ’s been in process for over two years now. We need transparency on policy which directly affects manufacturers, retailers and consumers, such as the sugar tax, which allowed for virtually no consultation prior to implementation. And we need government departments to talk to each other to avoid the negative ripple effect of legislation with unintended consequences we can ill afford.

As I write, public representations are being made in respect of the Competition Commission ’s enquiry into the retail sector, focusing particularly on the impact of formal retail on townships and the informal economy. The conventional wisdom has it that as competition intensifies, informal traders find it harder to compete. The first and most important point to make, one that those of us on the ground know well, is that it is possible for large and small retailers to co-exist. We offer different things to consumers. The Pick n Pay franchise model has long been a very effective route for emerging entrepreneurs to create and build their own businesses, leveraging the buying, supply chain, systems and other benefits of a partnership with Pick n Pay. We have now converted six spaza shop so franchise stores, working with the Gauteng government. Based on the successes already achieved, we believe this could be another promising route through which small and in some cases, marginal traders can retain ownership of their stores but become fully-fledged sustainable entrepreneurs, trading alongside bigger retail stores. Secondly, we must avoid the temptation to be myopic, and thus we must also focus on the interests of families as well as traders.

If a new supermarket opens in an area which previously lacked formal retail, the result is that families in these communities can now buy safe and affordable food at lower prices without incurring high transport costs to get to their store of choice. Jobs are created in stores, and our investment encourages others to invest therefore creating more local jobs. This is a win, not a loss, for the communities concerned. More broadly, our growing business encourages and enables new suppliers to emerge and grow with us. A new location presents opportunities to supply goods not usually found in other stores, and which are particular to the geography in which they are located. Through our supplier development programmes, we set out to find new products and new ideas. We nurture them through our commercial teams. When they are big enough, our national supply chain gives them a route to market which would not be available without us. South Africa has never been an easy place to do business. In looking to our future, we need to work hard, together, to transform our economy. We need to remove obstacles to trade. We need to avoid legislation which while well-intentioned, effectively blocks progress and disadvantages our citizens. We need to take every effort to unlock the potential of our people. And we need to grasp the future, mindful of the challenges created by our past. Business must redouble its work in partnership with stakeholders – including government – to achieve the societal goals are seeking.

During my seven-year tenure as chairman, I have had the pleasure of watching our Group set itself on a course of rejuvenation, bedding down the foundation and firmly moving on a growth trajectory. The path has not always been easy but our direction has been clear. We are now a more centralised business, a more efficient business, with a better customer offer and more innovation. We have improved our offer, modernised our stores, centralised our supply chain, and controlled our costs, delivering consistently better returns for shareholders as well as a better shopping trip for customers. The journey is not complete, but an enormous amount has been achieved under the leadership of Richard Brasher and the executive team. They have my sincere thanks and appreciation. The Group took a significant step forward in its modernisation this year, with the elimination of its pyramid control structure and the unbundling of Pick n Pay Holdings Limited RF Group. The simplified Group structure is more cost effective to administer and has substantially increased our free float of shares.

The Group thanks its shareholders for their valued engagement over the course of the unbundling process and their overwhelming support of the transaction.In difficult times, Pick n Pay can do no better than draw on the strong roots which my father laid down for our company half a century ago. Consumer sovereignty demands that we help customers more in tough times and we have accelerated our plan to do so. Improving efficiency in our business means we create the space to lower prices and deliver better value. Doing good is good business is a maxim that has never been more important than now. I am excited by the progress we are making and by our determination to do more for our future.

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Our banners / stores

Boxer Build

Boxer Build

31 Stores
Boxer Liquors

Boxer Liquors

34 Stores
Boxer Punch

Boxer Punch

General Supermarkets
34 Stores
Boxer Superstores

Boxer Superstores

General Supermarkets
229 Stores
Pick n Pay Clothing

Pick n Pay Clothing

Clothing & Apparel
770 Stores
Pick n Pay Express

Pick n Pay Express

Convenience Stores
119 Stores
Pick n Pay Hyper

Pick n Pay Hyper

Large Format Hypers
20 Stores
Pick n Pay Liquor Stores

Pick n Pay Liquor Stores

446 Stores
Pick n Pay Local

Pick n Pay Local

General Supermarkets
38 Stores
Pick n Pay Pharmacy

Pick n Pay Pharmacy

29 Stores
Pick n Pay Supermarkets

Pick n Pay Supermarkets

General Supermarkets
543 Stores
TM Stores - Zimbabwe

TM Stores - Zimbabwe

General Supermarkets
56 Stores

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