South African retail giant Pick n Pay has so far invested about $14 million on expansion and upgrading its operations in Zimbabwe, a company official told The Herald Business yesterday. The retail group through its partnership with TM Supermarkets, a subsidiary of Meikles Limited, secured about $25 million from Standard Chartered Bank to upgrade the existing chain to international standards.

Pick n Pay is opening more branches as the group seeks to expand and consolidate its market share in Zimbabwe.

The Pick n Pay representative Mr Dharmalingum Dass, who commented on behalf of TM supermarkets finance director Mr Onias Makamba, said “So far we have spent about $14 million on our expansion and the delay on the opening of Greatermans Pick n Pay has been centred on the that fact when dealing with the city council you have to do various applications, so we are still going through the process.

“In addition, we had other stores to open for example last week we opened Pick n Pay in Gweru and we opened TM in Kwekwe and again we are relaunching our stores in Kadoma and Chivhu,” said Mr Dass.

He said the opening of the Greatermans Pick n Pay is scheduled for the end of November this year.

“We are going to target all customers and the idea is to cover all customers for instance in the Greatermans Pick n Pay, we will be focusing on the people that come to the city, particularly the ones that work in the offices and others who works in Government buildings so that they take advantage of the new offering that we have,” said Mr Dass.

There are about 50 TM Supermarkets across Zimbabwe, including two which already carry the Pick n Pay name at the Kamfinsa and Westgate shopping Centres in Harare.

Pick n Pay supermarkets purchased an additional 24 percent to increase its stake to 49 percent in TM and has provided operational support through a skills development programme to equip the Zimbabwean local team with international best practices.

The investment and refurbishment follows the chain’s six-fold increase in profits through improved management practices and better stock control, merchandising and buying strategies.

“The expansion programme is being bankrolled through a $25 million loan facility from Standard Chartered Bank.”

Meikles chairman Mr John Moxon last year said the $25-million investment, together with a substantial internal generation of cash from increased earnings, will soon be available for the renovation of existing supermarkets and the addition of new opportunities.

He said the performance of the two existing Pick n Pay stores also contributed to the chain’s positive bottom line, and helped enable the refurbishment.

Pick n Pay currently operates 95 stores in Africa, the latest of which was opened in Luanshya in Zambia on 22 March.

Source: The Herald Zimbabwe