Refreshed brand and store design for Wellness Warehouse

Article by Lauren Hartzenberg on BizCommunity

 

South African health and well-being retailer Wellness Warehouse has opened three new-look stores, reflecting the company’s recent brand refresh and offering an elevated in-store customer experience. The new-look stores are located at La Lucia and Westville Malls in Durban, and Somerset Mall in Somerset West.

Wellness Warehouse has been working on its transformation with branding agency International Trends Institute (ITI) for the past few months. Updated branding includes – amongst other things – a new logo and colour palette, which have been rolled out across the business.

Supporting journeys to natural well-being

The new Wellness Warehouse store concept was inspired by nature and a sense of locality. “Using nature as our guide, we have fine-tuned our aesthetics to express our core mission and value of empowering personal journeys to natural well-being,” Kate Aitken, marketing manager of Wellness Warehouse told Bizcommunity.

Aitken said that Wellness focused on how it could further support its customers on this journey, by creating stores that are designed to meet a range of unique needs, with a team on hand to help shoppers connect and consume more consciously. She explained that the store layout was re-engineered with core shopper needs and journeys in mind – from basic replenishment to individual consulting.

Interior design and display

The refreshed store design incorporates more rounded edges throughout to soften the space, with all-natural wooden finishes and granite tops to elevate the feel of the store, and texture to create interest. Sustainable materials were used wherever possible, said Aitken.

Factored into the redesign was the desire to deliver an increased feeling of space and breathability for customers moving through the stores. And to deliver a multi-sensory experience, the air inside the store is infused with the retailer’s signature scent, the Wellness Balance Essential Oil, and experiential zones have been added in which customers can fully engage with the products.

“Our ‘Inspire Tables’ showcase carefully curated products across categories to encourage customers to see wellness for what it is – a truly holistic experience that goes beyond what we eat or how we move. Where possible, we have displayed key ingredients that speak to what sets our products apart.”

The new store design and customer experience will be rolled out to all new Wellness stores going forward.

Aitken said, “At its core, our transformation has been inspired by our mission to create a brand and space that truly reflects who we are at our core, facilitating a connection between mind and body in one seamless holistic experience. Inspired by a reverence for nature and locality, our new brand and store design honours our deep connection to the natural environment, while supporting physical, emotional and mental well-being for all who inhabit it.”

Wellness Warehouse CEO Simon Alston commented, “We are thrilled to launch our new store concept, which represents the culmination of our partnership with local brand agency, International Trend Institute. At Wellness Warehouse, our passion is making good health and wellbeing accessible to more people. For far too long, navigating the natural health industry has been difficult and overwhelming for many people, and we set out to change that.

“ITI understood that our stores need to simplify the customer experience, while simultaneously elevating the sense of excitement and discovery that comes with a journey to holistic well-being. With this transformation, we believe that we have set the new benchmark for the health industry.”

Wellness Warehouse also recently revamped its Live Life Well Rewards programme, which now offers shoppers up to 3% cashback across all purchases, which can be redeemed in store and online.

Aitken concluded, “From a brand point of view, our messaging focuses on inspiring customers to live life well. We’re on the wellness journey with them, and we meet them wherever they’re at. We’re focused on building our community by offering value through accessible education, as well as through our newly-improved Live Life Well Rewards Programme.”

The decade of @home

Article by TFG on BizCommunity
Lifestyle retailer @home has reported that ‘wellbeing’ continues to be the most searched word on the @home website after having never featured in their top 20 words searched for the website before. Customer sentiment, sales indicators and community impact of this category confirm that the ‘decade of home’ is here to stay.
“In the early days of lockdown, we noticed that the conversation changed from healthy living to wellbeing. The role that one’s home plays in this narrative is pivotal as that is the central place where one’s wellbeing begins. How well you sleep, how well you eat, your wellbeing when you’re working from home, the routines you follow and the equipment you use. This new direction opened up many exciting possibilities for us. Our @home designers started to think about wellbeing in every room of the house and every facet of your life. Creating your sanctuary that is safe and at home,” said Shani Naidoo, TFG Group director.

The trend of wellbeing has revolutionised customer shopping behaviour from filling baskets with functional merchandise to transparently expressing intent and a new way of life – expressions of creating calm home environments, decluttering spaces and practising mindfulness in supporting local trade. @home has since bolstered its local supply chain by increasing orders with local suppliers and in the process securing local jobs at a very trying time. The brand’s local merchandise offering has grown in a number of product categories such as in bedding, mattresses, furniture, coffee, cooking ingredients, home fragrances and bath and body products.

Growing local changes lives

The new direction of wellbeing led the @home design team to develop a Simply Stored range and procure The Home Edit; both of these ranges are centred on organising one’s life. The more organised you are, the less cluttered your life is, the less stressed you should be. A great advantage that the team found while developing the Simply Stored range is that some of the items could be made locally, and where that was not the case, the @home team has been able to work with local partners to acquire the items needed to complete the collection.

Proudly SA items can be found throughout @home, from Egyptian cotton linen, to duvet inners, to self-care products to mattresses, selected couches, to home, office and outdoor furniture ranges.

In an effort to revive the SA textile industry @home have collaborated with a leading local manufacturer of fine woven and warp knitted home furnishings fabrics for a variety of products, including cushions. They are working with a company that employs up to 300 people, many who have more than 30 years’ service. Simultaneously, some are representatives of second and even third-generation family members who have developed their skills in the business.

Natural feather and down and synthetic duvets and pillows are produced locally in Cape Town by a family-run company that its founding director and his family still run. Now employing over 200 South Africans, most of their 30 original staff have stayed and continue to produce the same high-quality goods responsible for their success over the years. All fillings are processed to exceed international standards.

@home’s Egyptian cotton bedding, across all thread counts, is manufactured locally in the Western Cape. This superior quality product comes from the hands of 373 female employees working as machinists, spreaders, cutters, folders and production supervisors, ensuring the best quality finished product gets to you. At least 81% of the female staff are the breadwinners for their immediate and extended families.

@home’s 100% cotton everyday towels, the Zero Twist and Ribbed Cotton ranges, are made by a well-established local towelling manufacturer synonymous with quality and durability. The company has long focused on maintaining sustainable value chains within the industry.

“Magnificent Barista Boys is one of my favourite local stories. What started as collaboration with two young entrepreneurs has developed into a business partnership. The @home team worked with the duo to develop a sustainable business from the ground up and are selling exclusively to @home. Magnificent Barista Boys started selling only two varieties of coffee beans, growing to 17 active lines selling on average 1000 units a week in-store and online. This is the power of localisation, driving sustainable economic growth for all,” concluded Naidoo.

About TFG:

With 31 retail brands that trade in fashion, value, jewellery, accessories, sporting apparel, cellular, homeware and furniture, TFG is one of the leading retail groups in South Africa. Besides South Africa, TFG Africa also has a presence in Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Lesotho and Eswatini through various retail brands. TFG first entered the UK market through the acquisition of the premium womenswear brand Phase Eight in 2015, followed by the acquisition of Whistles in 2016 and Hobbs in 2017. TFG’s presence in the Australian market was strengthened through its acquisition in July 2017 of Retail Apparel Group Pty Ltd (RAG), a leading Australian menswear apparel retailer. TFG’s vision is to be the leading fashion lifestyle retailer in Africa whilst growing its international footprint. TFG has over 4,300 outlets in 31 countries, and employs more than 34,500 people with over 26,3 million customers (RSA).

Benefits of Bopis for retail and beyond

Article by Michael Gewer, CEO of VaultGroup on BizCommunity

 

If you haven’t heard of it already, take note: Bopis (buy online pick up in store) is transforming the face of South African retail, and it’s coming soon to a store – or a mall – near you.

Bopis offer retailers the perfect way to enhance the customer experience, drive in-store foot traffic and connect their offline and online experiences at a time when consumers are looking for a safer way to shop.

How it works: Customers do their shopping online, and once they’ve completed their purchases, they get an OTP or QR code on their smartphone that they use to open an electronic locker in the store.

Stores like Mr Price, Sportscene and Totalsports have been quick to install secure electronic lockers in their stores, enabling shoppers to click-and-collect their goods. Sandton City has implemented Drop & Shop lockers that let patrons securely store their shopping and personal items while eating out, going to the movies, or socialising.

Even though Bopis is not new, it’s the perfect solution for our Covid-19 times. A Digital Commerce 360 survey published in August found that almost 44% of the top 500 US retailers with physical stores are offering this click-and-collect service, up from 7% before the pandemic.

For South African retailers under pressure due to reduced shopper traffic, it represents a creative way to tempt people back into stores and malls. International evidence suggests that Bopis has resulted in more than 40% upsell activities in-store: consumers come to collect their purchases, and inevitably end up buying something else as well.

Delivery cost savings is another key benefit for beleaguered retailers, but for consumers, it’s all about speed and convenience.

 

Opportunities for other markets

The integration of Bopis with electronic lockers holds significant opportunities for other market segments as well. For instance, public and private sector pharmacies can use the system for people who need to collect their chronic medication.

Instead of spending time waiting in line, a customer can easily use an OTP or QR code to open a secure locker and get their medicine at their convenience. Considering that patients can spend up to six hours waiting at government clinics to collect chronic medication, the potential is real.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing use cases involves government. With applications for the likes of passports and smart ID cards mainly taking place online, Bopis can significantly enhance government’s e-citizen services. Instead of having people wait in line at Home Affairs or licensing departments to collect their cards or documentation, secure lockers can be used.

This will result in a significantly more efficient government process while mitigating against the risk of people having to unnecessarily wait in long queues.

African growth

The potential for secure lockers on the rest of the continent is limitless. And with much of the awareness around the benefits of integrating Bopis with lockers being done thanks to Covid-19, people (and retailers) are more open to this way of collecting their online purchases.

Secure lockers and Bopis are here to stay. The number of potential applications are as varied as the type of lockers available tailored to specific industry sectors. While Covid-19 might have been the driver for the growth in Bopis solutions over the past year, it’s a trend that’s here to stay.

In It Together: Cotton On partners with Unicef to help deliver 1 million Covid-19 vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable

Article by Cotton On Group on BizCommunity

The largest vaccine operation in history is underway, and Cotton On is rallying to help. The Cotton On Group is proud to be the first global retailer to partner with Unicef in helping to deliver one million Covid-19 vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable.

The global fundraising campaign kicks off in South African stores and online today until 4 July, with 100% of proceeds from the sale of Cotton On Foundation products going to support the delivery of Covid-19 vaccinations as part of the global CoVax response, and diagnostic tests and treatments. The initial vaccines secured through these funds will protect the most at risk across Africa, including frontline health care workers and teachers, so they can continue to provide services and care for their community.

“This pandemic has impacted everyone, and vaccines need to be accessible to each and every person to help bring it to an end,” said South African actress and Cotton On Foundation ambassador Nomzamo Mbatha. “It is particularly heart-breaking to see how communities across Africa are being left behind in the vaccine race and it’s imperative that we protect those most in need, so that children can continue schooling and community life can continue,” noted Mbatha. “As a longstanding friend of the Cotton On Foundation, who have a long history of commitment to true social upliftment, I am proud to support them in their partnership with Unicef to help deliver one million vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable people,” she added.

 

The CoVax Facility – supported by Unicef, WHO and GAVI – is the global Covid vaccine equity scheme and works to bridge the gaps to vaccine inequities by guaranteeing fair and equitable access for every country in the world.

Unicef South Africa is supporting the Department of Health-led Covid-19 vaccination rollout in the country through health worker training, cold chain management and data analysis as well as promoting the importance of ongoing non-pharmaceutical prevention measures.
“Children across South Africa have suffered greatly, as Covid-19 has impacted every step of their childhood, from disrupting education to child health services and exposure to violence and mental health issues, often behind closed doors,” said Christine Muhigana, Unicef South Africa Representative.

“Vaccines provide the hope that children, young people and all of us need to reimagine a safer, fairer and better future for every child,” added Muhigana.

In addition to helping deliver one million Covid-19 vaccines, Cotton On is continuing its own efforts to provide essential health services in Africa and SouthEast Asia, communities where the Cotton On Foundation has an extensive history. Since 2007, in partnership with its team members and customers, the Cotton On Group has raised over R1,3bn through the Cotton On Foundation, to deliver quality education around the globe.

“There has never been a more important time to rally together to help respond to the biggest crisis the world is facing right now because Covid-19 isn’t over for anyone, until it’s over for everyone,” said Tony Stuart, chief executive officer of Unicef Australia. Go to cottonon.com to find out how to purchase select COF products or donate across Cotton On, Cotton On Body, Rubi, Cotton On Kids, Factorie or Typo stores to make a difference today.

Click here to support.

A few key statistics

  1. An additional 140 million children in developing countries are projected to be in households living below the poverty line. (Unicef data hub: Covid-19 and children)
  2. 188 countries imposed countrywide school closures during the pandemic, affecting more than 1.6 billion children and youth. At least one in three of the world’s schoolchildren – 463 million children globally – were unable to access remote learning during Covid-19 school closures. (Unicef data hub: Covid-19 and children)
  3. As of mid-November 2020, children made up 8% of Covid-19 confirmed cases in South Africa. (Unicef report: How COVID-19 is changing childhood in South Africa (November 2020))
  4. The economic impacts of the pandemic have had a direct impact on the children of South Africa, with an estimated 2.2 million jobs lost in the country between April and June 2020. The loss of income made it more difficult than ever for families to provide for their children – in April 2020 (the first month of the lockdown in South Africa) At least 47% of households ran out of money for food. (Unicef report: How Covid-19 is changing childhood in South Africa (November 2020))
  5. Due to Covid-19 measures, approximately 80 million children under the age of one in at least 68 countries may miss out on receiving life-saving vaccines for preventable diseases including measles. (Unicef data hub: Covid-19 and children)
  6. Covid-19 is increasing global poverty and the nutritional status of the poorest people will deteriorate further. Stunting, which is an impact of poor nutrition, is 2.4 times higher in the world’s poorest children, compared to those in the richest nations, and is likely to increase as a result. (Unicef data hub: Covid-19 and children)

Online retail in SA soars to R30bn, comprising 2.8% of total retail

Article found on BizCommunity

The Online Retail in South Africa 2021 study was conducted by World Wide Worx with the support of Mastercard, Standard Bank and Platinum Seed, and was released today, 12 May. The finding illustrate that local online retail more than doubled in just two years, thanks to the explosion in demand for home deliveries brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The most astonishing aspect of this total is that it is more than double the R14,1bn reached in 2018, in just two years,” says World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck, principal analyst on the research project. “It is also 50% higher than the total forecast for 2020 three years ago, when online retail in South Africa was expected to reach R20bn by 2020.”

Online outpaces traditional retail

The figure comes into the most dramatic context when it is compared to traditional retail. In 2018, the R14,1bn in online retail represented 1.4% of total retail, estimated at the time at R1,07tn. Online had outpaced traditional retail growth throughout the past 20 years, since it came off a low base, but traditional retail still grew every year until 2019. In 2020, it slumped as a result of lockdown as well as economic stress.

According to preliminary data from Stats SA, at current prices, total retail fell by 4.2%, to R1,05tn at current prices. The percentage of retail made up by online retail sales came to 2.8% – exactly double the percentage for 2018.

“While equivalent growth cannot be expected for 2021, it can be stated fairly confidently that it will exceed the 30% growth of 2019, when expansion was organic and a factor of the evolution of shopping habits and retail strategies,” says Goldstuck. “Those factors remain in place, along with the massive boost given to both areas of evolution since the pandemic began.”

This means we can expect to see total online retail sales of around R42bn in 2021, taking the online percentage of total retail to around 4%, assuming traditional retail returns to its previous growth path.

Category growth

The findings were hardly a surprise, states World Wide Worx. Already in November 2020, Mastercard released the findings of a survey of 1,000 South African consumers, which found that 68% of respondents were shopping more online since the onset of the pandemic.

The categories experiencing the highest growth, aside from data and airtime top-up, were clothing at 56%, and groceries at 54%.

More than two-thirds – 68% – of these consumers said they used the time during the pandemic as a positive learning experience, while the demand for online entertainment also surged, with 52% of respondents saying they have spent more money on virtual experiences than they did before the pandemic.

The majority had participated in video calls for work or leisure (88%), three-quarters (75%) had watched TV or films through an online subscription service, and nearly half (47%) had taken part in a virtual cooking class.

“This trend appears to be here to stay as 71% of respondents say they will continue to shop online post-pandemic,” says Suzanne Morel, country manager at Mastercard, South Africa. “Now more than ever people need access to the digital economy and all of us at Mastercard are constantly working to make the online shopping experience more inclusive, simple, seamless and secure for everyone, whether you’re shopping for essentials or experiences.”

Three-phase study

The study is being released in three phases, with the first focused on overall market size and online consumer demographics. The first report is based on data drawn from the TGI consumer survey of 16,000 participants, conducted by Ask Afrika over six months.

Subsequent phases of Online Retail in South Africa 2021, to be released later in the year, will include an analysis of the performance of online retailers, based on a survey of a wide range of providers, while the third phase will provide deep insights into global trends.

Consumers spent $900bn more at online retailers globally in 2020

Article found on BizCommunity

Covid-19 accelerated e-commerce around the globe and forced retailers to shift to digital. As the pandemic kept consumers around the world at home, nearly everything from groceries to gardening supplies was purchased online.

According to Mastercard’s latest Recovery Insights report, this amounted to an additional $900bn being spent in retail online around the world in 2020. Put another way: in 2020, e-commerce made up roughly $1 out of every $5 spent on retail, up from about $1 out of every $7 spent in 2019.*

For retailers, restaurants and other businesses large and small, being able to sell online provided a much-needed lifeline as in-person consumer spending was disrupted.

Roughly 20-30% of the Covid-related shift to digital globally is expected to be permanent, according to Mastercard’s Recovery Insights: Commerce E-volution. The report draws on anonymised and aggregated sales activity in the Mastercard network and proprietary analysis by the Mastercard Economics Institute. The analysis dives into what this means by country and by sector, for goods and services, and within countries and across borders.

“While consumers were stuck at home, their dollars traveled far and wide thanks to e-commerce,” says Bricklin Dwyer, Mastercard chief economist and head of the Mastercard Economics Institute. “This has significant implications, with the countries and companies that have prioritized digital continuing to reap the benefits. Our analysis shows that even the smallest businesses see gains when they shift to digital.”

Key trends

While the digital transformation has been neither universal nor consistent – due to geographical, economic, and household differences – the report uncovers several key overarching trends:

• Early digital adopters go into overdrive: Economies that were more digital before the crisis – such as the UK and US – saw larger gains in the domestic shift to digital that look more permanent than the countries that had a smaller share of e-commerce before the crisis. In MEA, the e-commerce share of retail sales pre-crisis was 2.2%, rising to 4.6% at the peak of the crisis. The current level stands at 2.4%.

• Grocery and discount store digital gains look sticky: Essential retail sectors, which had the smallest digital share before the crisis, saw some of the biggest gains as consumers adapted. With new consumer habits forming and given the low pre-Covid user base, we anticipate 70-80% of the grocery e-commerce surge to stick around for good.

The Mastercard study on consumer spending asserts this, as it revealed that 68% of South African consumers are shopping more online, with 54% buying groceries online since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

• International e-commerce rose 25-30% during the pandemic: International e-commerce got a boost both in sales volume and the number of different countries where shoppers placed orders. With infinitely more choices at their fingertips, consumer spending on international e-commerce grew around 25-30% year over year from March 2020 through February 2021.

In countries that face isolation challenges when it comes to international shipping logistics for direct-to-consumer sales, like South Africa, Australia, and Brazil, there has been less international e-commerce.

• Consumers increase their e-commerce footprints, buying from up to 30% more online retailers: Reflecting expanded consumer choice, our analysis shows that consumers worldwide are making purchases at a greater number of websites and online marketplaces than before. South African consumers are supporting their favourite local small businesses, with 63% saying that they are making a conscious effort to shop online at these stores.

• Shift to electronic payments accelerated: Even in store, Covid-19 accelerated the transition to digital – with more consumers moving from plunking down cash to touch-free payments. The Mastercard contactless study last year revealed 75% of South African respondents use contactless payments with 71% preferring to shop at merchants where contactless is accepted.

Mastercard launched Recovery Insights last year to help businesses and governments better manage the health, safety and economic risks presented by Covid-19. The initiative draws on Mastercard’s analytics and experimentation platforms, its longstanding consulting practice and data-driven insights to deliver relevant and timely tools, innovation and research.

* The Mastercard Economics Institute drew on activity within the Mastercard network and modeled global retail e-commerce across all payment types to determine the additional retail e-commerce spending based on the deviation from the trend.

Takealot competitor Everyshop officially launches

Article found on BizCommunity

After a month of public testing in March, the new South African online marketplace Everyshop has officially launched, offering delivery across South Africa.

Everyshop is part of Pepkor’s JD Group, the operator of local retail chains like Russels, Bradlows, HiFi Corporation and Incredible Connection. The marketplace has been described as a likely Takealot competitor, with an extensive product range spanning electronics and appliances, furniture, fashion, beauty, fitness, DIY and more.

“At Everyshop, we love brands and we know our shoppers do too, that’s why we’ve created a platform that houses the world’s leading brands such as Nike, Apple, Revlon, Samsung and many more. Everyshop also supports new South African entrepreneurs and already includes a wide range of local brands such as Me&B, The T-shirt Bed Co. and Move Pretty, to name a few,” Everyshop said in a statement.

According to JD Group, the new marketplace was designed to be mobile-first and easy to navigate, with a tailored departmental shopping experience that addresses very specific consumer needs, such as ‘Work from home’, ‘Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience’ and ‘Achieve the latest on-trend fashion and beauty look’.

Nationwide logistics infrastructure

The marketplace boasts a nationwide distribution network that includes two dedicated fulfilment centres and 15 large-scale distribution centres, and promises customers fast and affordable fulfilment across categories – from small high-value goods to large items like appliances and furniture.

One of the next steps for Everyshop includes the onboarding of approved retailers as marketplace partners to further enhance its merchandise offering.

Peter Griffiths, chief executive officer at the JD Group, commented, “JD Group, a division of Pepkor Holdings, already offers extensive online shopping to South African consumers through its retail brands that include Incredible Connection, HiFi Corp, Bradlows, Rochester and Sleepmasters. Immense know-how, e-commerce and logistics capabilities and infrastructure have been built up to provide world-class online shopping experiences with swift and efficient delivery options.

“With the support of our existing retail businesses we have partnered with some of South Africa’s most well-known and loved brands across a number of industries including specialist electronics and appliances, furniture, fashion, footwear and DIY to deliver true value to the South African shopper.”

Griffiths added, “We are proud to be part of Pepkor Holdings with its many trusted brands and combined we are a diversified retailer of clothing, footwear, furniture, household appliances and consumer electronic goods. Now even more is offered with Everyshop – our brand new online platform.”

As part of the official launch, Everyshop is offering customers who register a R100 discount code towards their first purchase of R500 or more.

Truth Coffee’s David Donde is taking on the world of chocolate

Article by Lauren Hartzenburg on BizCommunity

David Donde, the visionary behind Truth Coffee, has broadened his horizons and launched a chocolate company with long-standing Truth COO Ken Walton. Not to be mistaken for a side hustle, the co-founders are already eyeing expansion abroad in the US and UK.

The new brand, Minimalist Chocolate, aptly describes what the pair set out to achieve when diving into the new endeavour. Minimalist Chocolate is made using just two ingredients, cocoa and milk, and despite having no added sugar, the product lacks the unpleasant bitterness one often associates with sugar-free chocolate.

“Chocolate without crap in it. That tastes good? That has a long lingering and pleasant aftertaste? Buy some, you decide,” Donde says confidently.

The coffee guru has transferred some of his knowledge from the coffee business to chocolate-making. Yet again, the secret lies in a unique roasting process, which allows Minimalist Chocolate to reach maximum flavour without sugar, soy lecithin, fructose and other additives.

“No-one is brave enough to say ‘no sugar required’. We did it with coffee in 2005 with the launch of Origin Coffee Roasting, and now we’re doing it with chocolate. The approach is simple: no bitterness in the chocolate to begin with, so no sugar needed to overcome it,” Donde says.

“We’re at a point now where you need to explicitly ask for sugar with your coffee if you want it, because good coffee doesn’t need it. Chocolate can be the same.”

While parallels can be drawn between chocolate and coffee, a wave of specialty coffee roasteries drove the sophistication and growth of coffee over the years, but chocolate has stagnated somewhat, explains Donde.

The idea for Minimalist was thus sparked with the realisation that the world of chocolate looks like coffee did before the rise of specialty roasteries.

A necessary pivot

Market potential aside, the Covid-19 pandemic played a monumental role in Donde’s decision to pivot.

Talking to Bizcommunity about what drove the move into a new product category, Donde said, “It’s simple, Covid. I need to take care of my staff.”

For this reason, many Truth employees have been involved in the development and daily operations of Minimalist Chocolate. For example, the roasting is headed up by Truth coffee roaster Oliver Rollinson, and Truth’s baker and pastry chef Bobby Kumar is now also the Minimalist chocolatier.

Daily operations, including production, are done from the Truth Coffee headquarters in Buitenkant Street, Cape Town.

Bean to bar

When developing the product, the Minimalist team sampled beans from 15 different countries, before settling on ethically-sourced cocoa from a small-scale, free trade plantation on the island of São Tomé.

After one year in development, Minimalist Chocolate launched to market in February with a small but considered range comprising sugar-free classic chocolate bars and a selection of bon bons for the sweeter toothed. A dairy-free oat milk bar is also on the way.

Minimalist Chocolate is available from Truth Coffee and online at www.minimalistchocolate.com, as well as selected specialty retailers nationwide.

Mr Price Group to buy Yuppiechef

Article found on BizCommunity

Mr Price Group has entered into an agreement to acquire 100% of privately-owned homeware retailer Yuppiechef. The purchase consideration will be settled entirely in cash, and the Yuppiechef management team will continue to run the business with the support of the Mr Price executive team.

Andrew Smith and Shane Dryden founded Yuppiechef in 2006 with a vision to build a platform for the distribution of aspirational kitchen and homeware brands. The business has two primary operations, namely: Yuppiechef Online, the retail division comprising the online platform and seven stores, as well as a wholesale division, which develops, and imports branded goods for wholesale distribution.

Yuppiechef commenced operations as a pure e-commerce company and since 2017 has transitioned into an omnichannel retail platform. The retail division represents 85% of turnover (70% via e-commerce) and has been a pioneer of online retail in South Africa, consistently winning awards throughout its history. Most recently in 2019, Yuppiechef was voted ‘Digital Company of the Year’ at the South African National Business Awards and ‘Best Independent Retailer Store Design’ at the SACSC Retail Design & Development Awards.

Access to higher LSM customer base

In November 2020, Mr Price communicated its ambitions to invest in growth opportunities in specific segments of the market through both organic and acquisitive growth avenues. These opportunities are informed by an extensive period of research which the group believes will shape its future growth trajectory.

Within the homeware market, the opportunity to gain access to a higher LSM customer base, enabling growth of its share-of-wallet through aspirational value spending, was identified.

Escalating online retail ambitions

Mr Price says the acquisition will allow it to expand in South Africa through an established, high-growth omnichannel brand. “Profitability is a key factor in the group’s consideration of any venture, and it is satisfied with Yuppiechef’s positive bottom-line performance and prospects for margin expansion,” Mr Price says.

Mr Price CEO, Mark Blair, comments: “We are very excited about welcoming the Yuppiechef team into our family. As a founder-led business, they share our entrepreneurial roots and we are eager to jointly realise the company’s ambitions. We are partnering with a market-leading business which has won numerous awards relating to both e-commerce and stores, and Yuppiechef has a proven ability to launch private label categories which have also attracted industry recognition.”

Blair continues, “This gives Mr Price the opportunity to access the skills of a highly talented team and service a new customer base. Yuppiechef will benefit from our financial strength to accelerate growth plans which include significantly broadening the product assortment into areas where we have well-established skills and expanding its physical presence beyond the currently limited number of stores.

“We were early adopters of e-commerce in South Africa and our consistent investment has really paid off for us. Yuppiechef gives us another platform to escalate our ambitions in online retail and enables us to be strategically positioned for further growth.”

Andrew Smith, co-founder and CEO of Yuppiechef, says: “The timing is right for Yuppiechef to move forward with its growth ambitions with a partner who has a shared vision and the resources to help achieve this. I am excited about our future as a part of the Mr Price Group. They are a business which prides themselves on innovation and growth and we are strategically aligned in our plans. We share similar cultures and values which will make this an easy fit for both parties.”

The targeted effective date is subject to the fulfilment of both regulatory and commercial suspensive conditions which includes competition authority approval.

Truworths to launch value clothing chain Primark

Article found on BizCommunity

 

South African retailer Truworths is launching a new value fashion chain called Primark – no relation to the international retailer of the same name. Truworths plans to open approximately 15 Primark stores over the next few months, with an average store size of 100m² during the launch trial phase. These will be a mix of standalone stores and others located in existing Truworths-owned stores.

The launch of Primark suggests that Truworths – which also owns Identity, YDE, Uzzi and Earthchild – hopes to tap into the growth opportunities present in the budget clothing market focused on lower-income consumers.

Subdued economic growth and the financial impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on consumers are driving a retail preference for value purchases over premium goods. Nedbank’s Tasmika Ramlakan stated that this has been especially evident in the clothing category, where value players such as Mr Price and Pepkor have generally performed better than their mid-market and premium competitors.

In its interim results report, Truworths said that the new Primark brand will offer “good quality at great value and highly competitive prices yet reasonable margins”, and will be strategically aligned with “suppliers that can react and respond with short lead times”. The merchandise mix will focus on carrying a wide range of volume basic and coordinated fashion items that are seasonally appropriate, and available in multiple colourways.

In terms of brand positioning, Truworths said that Primark will be a youthful, fashionable, commercial and aspirational value-brand, with an energetic and vibrant store experience to reflect these qualities. The company added that Primark will depict “a strong sense of current social values”, including local production, sustainability, recycling, charity and community involvement.

Truworths will also be launching Fuel, which it described as a young progressive casual brand with a streetwear edge. Just like Primark, Fuel stores will exist both as a standalone format and as a shop-within-a-shop, with 20 stores planned to open within the next few months.

“There is a focus on cool, commercial and trendy product. The range is bought deep and narrow with the logo being clearly distinct and visible on all garments. The brand has a good perception of excellent value and good quality. Quick response and local production will drive a significant portion of this range to capitalise on focused product offering with enhanced speed-to-market,” said Truworths.