Shoprite is the biggest of South Africa's "big five" food retailers, as well as the overall #1 across the whole African continent. Although South Africa is its biggest market by far with more than 1,600 stores, the group also operates more than 300 outlets in 14 other countries across the continent from Angola to Zambia, the majority of them directly owned. The three main brands are Shoprite and Checkers supermarkets and hypermarkets, and a range of convenience and furniture shops under the OK banner. However the group also manages a broad collection of other outlets including Usave no-frills convenience stores, Hungry Lion fast food restaurants, Friendly supermarkets and House & Home general stores. Shoprite is the personal creation of CEO Whitey Basson, forged through a series of ever larger acquisitions since 1979 when, as general manager of general retailer Pep & Co, he acquired eight supermarkets in South Africa's Western Cape. With backing from old friend Christo Wiese, by then the controlling shareholder of general retailer PEP, additional stores were bought and rebranded under the Shoprite name. The most significant developments were the acquisition of Checkers supermarkets in 1991, followed by OK Bazaars six years later. Group revenues for the year to June 2015 were ZAR 114bn (around $9.5bn). Basson remains CEO of Shoprite. Wiese, whose personal fortune now exceeds $6.5bn, is chairman and controlling shareholder. His investment vehicle Brait also owns UK retailers Iceland and New Look, international fitness chain Virgin Active and South African food producer Premier. Separate group Steinhoff International still owns general retailer Pep & Co, as well as furniture chains including Harveys and Bensons For Beds in the UK, and Conforama of France. Adbrands does not currently offer a business profile for this company but subscribers may access account assignments and contact information. The searchable account assignments database is available to full subscribers to Adbrands.net premium services. Click here to access Adbrands account assignments (subscribers only); or see here for information on how to subscribe.
Who are the competitors of Shoprite? Key rivals are Pick n Pay, Spar and Woolworths as well as Walmart-controlled Massmart. See Retailing Sector for more
Capsule checked 30th May 2016
Adbrands Weekly Update 3rd Mar 2016: South African furniture giant Steinhoff, already attempting to disrupt the agreed merger of British retailers Sainsbury's and Argos, has opened a second front in France with a similar gatecrash of the pending deal between entertainment chain Fnac and home appliances store Darty. The latter announced this week that it has received a preliminary approach from Steinhoff's French subsidiary Conforama that would constitute a higher offer than Fnac's.
Adbrands Weekly Update 25th Feb 2016: UK supermarket Sainsbury's bid for general merchandise chain Argos was potentially derailed by a rival bid from South African group Steinhoff, which already has a strong presence in the UK through furniture retailers Harveys and Bensons For Beds, and recently acquired French chain Conforama. As a result, Steinhoff is now the world's second largest furniture retailer after Ikea. It has offered 175p in cash for Argos parent Home Retail Group, trumping Sainsbury's 161p cash-and-shares bid. The British chain has been given an additional three weeks to submit a revised proposal.
Adbrands Weekly Update 21st May 2015: British fashion retailer New Look is to be acquired by Christoph Wiese, the South African billionaire who also recently acquired 80% of the Virgin Active global gym chain and is launching a new discount fashion chain in the UK under the name Pep & Co. Wiese is buying 90% of New Look, valuing the business at £865m. Wiese's investment vehicle Breit will also assume the retail's £1bn of debt. Founder Tom Singh will cash out most of his shares, though he will retain part of the remaining 10% equity stake, alongside management. Singh has already received a payout of more than £300m from New Look's various floats, buyouts and refinancings over the years. The latest deal could earn him as much as another £160m.
Adbrands Weekly Update 23rd Apr 2015: Virgin Group and its private equity partner CVC agreed to sell control of the Virgin Active health clubs business to South African investor Christo Wiese. His Brait SE investment umbrella will acquire almost 80% of Virgin Active for £682m. CVC is cashing out altogether, while Virgin will be reduced to 20%. Management retain a small stake. Virgin Active claims to be the biggest gym chain by far in South Africa, as well as the local leader by revenues in the UK and Italy. It has 1.3m members worldwide, through 267 clubs in nine countries.
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