The specialised art of signage production

The specialised art of signage production

A company profile:

AE Plastics, masters of signage in the retail and petro-chemical space.

Seldom does one have the privilege of working with a group of people, or company, with such a deeply entrenched set of ethical standards, skills development programme for its own staff, close attention to customers’ needs and expectations, and a core staff of which many have over 20 years of service.

In February 2017 Shopping & Retail SA did indeed have the privilege of visiting such a company. And this company, as to be expected, is a family business, where the term “family” naturally extends to encompass not only all staff, but is loosely seen in the culture of the organisation to ultimately include suppliers and customers alike.

Des and Brendan Geraghty

AE Plastics was founded some 40 years ago by Des Geraghty in 1976 with a staff of four. At the time the need for signage was for “point-of-purchase” products, where vacuum formed packaging and creative display shelving was the main priority – thus the name “AE Plastics”. Des’ son Brendan joined the business 19 years ago and is now the Managing Director of the business.

In the ’70s and early ’80s, as demand began shifting steadily towards signage, the plastics aspect soon fell away. In a short space of time AE Plastics became synonymous with high quality signage. “Edgars was our first big client – since 1980 – and still is today,” said Des. “And securing this account put the business firmly into the retail space.”

Des’ statement really says it all: “…and still is today.” Only companies with true dedication, strong depth of capability, and a deep understanding of their clients’ needs is capable of retaining clients of this calibre over a period of decades, and is ongoing.

In terms of capability, AE Plastics is proud of its unparalleled set of in-house skills, coupled with a modern well equipped 10 000 m2 factory complete with overhead cranes, warehousing for bulk storage, and offices – conveniently located in Wadeville, Gauteng, between the N3 and N17 highways.

On staff and skills: “Our primary mission is to always supply the client on time,” said Brendan. “Our skill-set is growing all the time and many of our 110 staff have been trained up in-house over the years.

“Whilst welders and spray painters are recognised trades – and these skills are readily available – this is not so with signage skills which are unique and learned “on the job”. There is no “signage NQF” qualification, so we go to great lengths to train our staff in the skills specific to the signage industry, including fabrication and installation. Furthermore, we take care to look after our staff, most of whom have been with the company for over 30 years and include their own new generations joining and becoming part of the business.”

On this note, it is pleasing to learn that AE Plastics offers bursaries to its staff and their families. “We invest heavily in our staff, and always have,” continues Brendan. “An integral part of our vision is to help with the education of our people, to be a part of creating exciting opportunities for them to grow within the company. Ours is a “non-traditional” family business in which all participate with great pride.”

On customer service: “Few have the capability, the premises, the plant, the staff, and the knowledge and expertise that we have,” explains Des. “In order to be successful in this industry it is essential too, to develop a long term understanding of the needs and requirements of the client, and to ensure continuity in quality and service delivery over time. In our value system we spend a great deal of time communicating with our employees, customers and suppliers alike.”

The work pressures that come with signage manufacture can be significant, and as deadlines loom the close-knit culture within the company comes to the fore to the extent that everybody pitches in and stays until the job is done. “We keep in step with our clients,” continues Brendan. “And we have learned to move at the same pace as they do, anticipating their speed of requirement and growth.”

On plant and equipment: “Signage is very much a “hand-made” process,” explains Brendan. “At our new premises here in Wadeville our artisans are able to apply their skills to the full, as each job has its nuances. Processes always vary slightly – depending on design and customers’ specifications – there is very little repetition. Each sign is a little different – even for the same client.”

The AE Plastics production line has a quiet air of purpose about it. A sense of organised calm prevails. “Much time and effort is spent on pre-production planning and preparation,” said Des. “Our strength is in how to make the best product as quickly as possible in the most efficient and cost-effective way.”

Quality checks are in place at every stage of production, be it the CNC letter bending machine, framework and fabrication, wire work, spray-painting, final assembly or lighting and testing. The end results speak for themselves – and have done for decades.

On technology: “At one stage we had several of our own neon glass-blowers, and although there is still a small and specialised requirement for neon, that and fluorescents are now only maintenance contracts,” said Brendan. “Today LED is the main lighting technology, and quality is paramount.”

On geographic footprint: “AE Plastics operates throughout Southern Africa and in many African countries. All operations are fully managed directly and hands-on right here from our head office,” continued Des. “And all installations controlled and managed by our own teams on all sites.”

Regarding future direction: Brendan tells us that the market is changing slightly, and always is. “ACM (Aluminium Composite Material) cladding of buildings is becoming a practical way of revamping the exterior of older buildings – and is a natural extension of our business, which of course enables us to develop even more skill-sets,” explains Brendan. “So we are doing a fair percentage of that too.”

“Another direction of interest is the incorporation of renewable energy sources into the illumination of our signage. This will not only be of particular interest to our clients in keeping running costs down, but of course maintains our competitive edge with regard to leading the field with sensible application of modern technologies.”

In forthcoming editions of editions of Shopping & Retail SA we’ll be bringing our readers insight to some of AE Plastics’ installations and on site capabilities through a series of case studies, and we’ll be spending more time with them on the production floor getting to know the artisans and their skills developed through this exemplary company.

Sites where projects are currently in progress for various clients include:
-Springs Mall
-Ballito Junction
-Alexander Mall
-Kyalami
-Musina
-Tamboti

G4S open day expo wows the market

G4S open day expo wows the market

In March Shopping & Retail SA attended a special open day expo staged by G4S Electronic Specialised Solutions at its offices in Centurion, Gauteng.

Tim Timmins, Business Development Director, G4S Electronic Specialised Solutions

The event was conceptualised by the company’s Business Development Director, Tim Timmins, to showcase the full range of systems and integration solutions it makes use through its technology partners. “This will become a regular event,” explained Timmins. “Through the hands-on displays and product exhibition, our customers and potential customers can appreciate at first-hand the full scope of our significant system integration capabilities, and at the same time meet and network with the various specialists in these fields.”

Timmins elaborated to say that each G4S open day will host different vendors to provide visitors with a broader overview of what the company can do for them. And while the company is part of the larger G4S group, Timmins says it runs independently and is not tied into other divisions.

G4S Electronic Specialised Solutions is presently overseeing a variety of projects ranging in value from R1 million to R400 million.

Companies with stands at the open day included a variety of well-known as well as a diverse range of security operations, including:

-Axis Communications: video surveillance systems
-Access and Beyond
-Bosch Security
-Brigit Systems
-Hikvision
-Milestone
-Paxton
-Pinnsec
-Skycom
-Turnstar

The June 2017 issue of Shopping & Retail SA will feature an in-depth look at the full scope and capability of G4S Electronic Specialised Solutions and its partners.

 

G4S Electronic Specialised Solutions is a system integrator of security systems, protecting customers with various security requirements. G4S secures a range of facilities including shopping centres, malls, small standalone businesses such as restaurants and offices, schools, large multi-national organisations and even high security government facilities.

vida e caffè launches limited edition blend called Auriga

vida e caffè launches limited edition blend called Auriga

South Africa’s coffee consumption is reportedly growing at approximately 6% per annum and the market continues to develop across a number of areas outside of sheer volume. The quality of coffee and the importance of speciality coffee beverages emerge as key trends that are positively shaping the future of the local market. This, according to the SA Coffee Landscape Report 2017.

In the same way that wine palettes change over time so too do coffee palettes. Considering that for example red wine contains up to 320 volatile aromatic compounds, while coffee has a whopping 900 and counting compounds, it becomes clear just how complex the art of coffee-making is. For coffee lovers looking for something different, vida e caffè has therefore just launched a delicious new limited edition blend called Auriga, that delivers a bold, rich taste of Africa.

vida’s original blend called Estrela, which is Portuguese for “star” has become a daily staple for countless people since the brand launched in 2001. Today with over 200 stores nationwide. Now with the launch of Auriga, the Latin word for “charioteer” and the name of a constellation, vida is the first national, speciality coffee chain to offer an additional blend in espresso form – significant given the maturation of the coffee market in South Africa. Together, the two offerings introduce a stellar theme that will see more limited edition blends launched seasonally that tie into the idea of a “constellation of coffees”.

Auriga brings another important first for vida, as it’s the first time that African beans – globally acclaimed for their great quality – are being used. In fact beans from the African region are among the world’s most expensive.

“While our Estrela blend, which we affectionately refer to as our “house blend” will always remain a constant, we felt that in order to stay true to our ethos of coffee excellency, we wanted to offer variation for our customers who might sometimes want something different,” says Darren Levy, CEO of vida e caffè.

Auriga is being rolled out nationally and will soon be available in most stores. “Coffee is in fact seasonal and we wanted to explore this notion through new limited edition blends that stay on trend for evolving palettes. Towards the end of the year we’ll launch the next ‘star’ in our ‘constellation of coffees’,” concludes Levy.

Charles Denison

The intense process of developing a new blend has been one year in the making and has seen vida partner with the country’s most renowned specialist coffee consultant, Charles Denison. As one of only two licensed Q-Graders (Coffee Quality Institute) in South Africa, Denison has spent time in the coffee fields of ten of the major growing regions of the world. Together with Denison and other hand-selected taste-makers, vida held twelve different cupping sessions in order to perfect the delicious Auriga blend.

 

 

Denison is an experienced coffee professional second to none – with nine years in the agro-commodity industry. He has also worked for one of the top four largest Arabica coffee suppliers and has been exposed to the full coffee chain at origin, from growing to export. This includes green bean trading (both physical and derivatives), hedging, logistics and shipping, and small-scale farmer advancement through rural agronomy training and certification. This experience included dealing with some of the world’s largest coffee roasters to the most specialised.

Much fanfare as Ballito Junction Regional Mall opens

Much fanfare as Ballito Junction Regional Mall opens

23 March saw the much awaited opening of the Ballito Junction Regional Mall on the Dolphin Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, bringing an exciting array of comprehensive, quality shopping to the growing, diverse and flourishing consumers of Ballito and its surrounds.

The ribbon cutting ceremony at the opening of Ballito Junction Regional Mall in March: Front row: Mayor Cllr Ricardo Mthembu of Kwadukuza Municipality; Honourable Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi of the Department of Public Service and Administration; Deputy Mayor Dolly Govender of Kwadukuza Municipality and the Speaker of the Kwadukuza Municipality Phumlile Zulu. Back Row: Co-owners Patrick Flanagan from Flanagan and Gerard Property Development and Investment and Carl Jankowitz of Menlyn Maine Investments

Owned and developed by the consortium of Menlyn Maine Investment Holdings and Flanagan & Gerard Property Development & Investment, Ballito Junction , which is already fully-let, is the major expansion of an existing 10 000 m2 shopping centre, which has grown eight times its size, to a massive 80 000 m2 of world-class shopping.

With its sheer size, shopping and leisure variety, unique attractions, and all-encompassing services and amenities, Ballito Junction is positioned to serve the large cross-section of shoppers. This gives it a dominant position and super-regional pull.

Besides its wide-ranging shopping experience and top-notch retailers, the mall is designed to be a real asset for its community – an expanding community that had become sorely under-serviced by retail.

Ballito Junction also offers first-hour-free secure undercover parking, completely interlinked parking levels, generous parking bays close to its mall entrances – all of which is smoothly managed and operated by the renowned Skidata access systems. A drop-off and pick-up zone, and special links for public transport and pedestrians.

 

Inside, Ballito Junction is a fresh, exciting shopping experience. It forms easy shopper flows with visual appeal created by bright naturally-lit high-ceilinged air-conditioned malls lined with large, modern shopfronts.

“Ballito Junction offers the ideal shopping and entertainment for its area. It is also an exceptional development and reflects the latest in inspired mall design and retail innovation. It delivers a compelling, easily accessible, one-stop shopping experience right to the doorsteps of the residents of KwaDukuza for the first time,” says Patrick Flanagan of Flanagan and Gerard.

The mall’s development is a major private investment that stands to benefit its community. It brings with it increased economic prosperity by creating jobs and keeping retail spend local. The mall worked closely with the KwaDukuza Municipality to ensure that local job-seekers could benefit from the jobs created during its construction as well as the sustainable jobs which it has created for its ongoing operation.

“Ballito Junction has become a major stakeholder in this great community. We look forward to continuing to contribute as a valuable member of this community, which has supported us every step of the way,” adds Flanagan.

Residents and retailers alike have welcomed the shopping centre’s development, especially with its strong focus on serving the retail needs of the local permanent population.

A sensational selection of six anchor retailers plus a diverse mix of over 200 shops, restaurants, and services eagerly invested in Ballito Junction to be closer to, and better for, their shoppers in the area.

In fact, Carl Jankowitz of Menlyn Main Investment Holdings explains that demand was so strong the development was extended by 15 000 m2 during its construction phase to create more space to meet retailers’ demand.

The breath-taking contemporary mall features an impressive line-up of anchor tenants: Checkers, Woolworths, Edgars, Pick n Pay, Game and Dis-Chem. The anchor retailers are complemented by a full range of fashion, clothing, footwear, sportswear, wellness, health and beauty, gifts, furnishings, home décor, cellular services, outdoor goods and more. It also features a full house of local banks.

A highlight of the mall, Ballito Junction Urban Eatery, opens a whole new world of sensory experiences in a refreshingly different setting. From its magnificent six-metre-high feature window, Ballito Junction’s Urban Eatery looks out to the north over the undeveloped green parklands of Simbithi Eco-Estate and beyond that, on a clear day, to the Indian Ocean.

It is packed full of new names, unique attractions, retail firsts for its region and flagship offerings. It is home to the mall’s magnificent selection of restaurants, fast foods and cafes. Adding to its leisure and entertainment choices Ballito Junction also offers a state-of-the-art Nu Metro cinema complex and an all-new and awesome 22 Jump Street trampoline park.

Its superb location, off the major N2 highway, gives Ballito Junction excellent ease of access from its immediate vicinity as well as to its north and south, and even inland. It has dedicated access around the traffic circles of Leonora Drive, off both Ballito Drive and Simbithi Drive, as well as from Ballito Drive itself.

“Ballito Junction is a shopping experience of distinction for the community of KwaDukuza and the entire ILembe District. It is an asset that everyone can be proud of,” says Flanagan.

Jankowitz adds: “It is incredibly rewarding to bring this project to a successful completion and welcome everyone to the mall.”

Ballito Junction was officially opened by the Mayor Cllr Ricardo Mthembu and the Honourable Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by the owners, professional team, local and provincial government officials and dignitaries, as well as thousands of enthusiastic shoppers who came to shop at the new shopping centre.

Emira teams up with retail property specialists ONE Property Holdings

Emira teams up with retail property specialists ONE Property Holdings

In the process of rebalancing its diversified portfolio, Emira Property Fund Limited, a diversified JSE-listed REIT, has joined forces with retail property specialists ONE Property Holdings to form the specialised Enyuka Property Fund.

Earlier this year Emira reported a 68,93 cents dividend per share for its half-year ended 31 December 2016, which is in line with its market guidance.

Last year the company primed the market for negative growth of 2% in distribution per share for its year to 30 June 2017, projecting a total dividend of 143 cents per share. Emira is performing in line with expectations for its full year, and is anticipated to return to positive growth in the 2018 financial year.

Geoff Jennett, CEO of Emira Property Fund

Geoff Jennett, CEO of Emira Property Fund, says “We are fully focused on coming through the current challenges with a stronger portfolio and an even better business. We have clear strategies in place to do this. Emira has made good steps towards a return to positive growth in 2018 and will continue to investigate all opportunities to create value and ensure growing and sustainable earnings for our investors.”

Growing Emira’s low Living Standards Measure (LSM) retail portfolio at a faster and better rate than that currently achievable within its existing structures, Emira joined forces with retail property specialists ONE Property Holdings to form the specialised Enyuka Property Fund, effective from 16 January.

Enuyka started out with Emira’s R575 million portfolio of 15 retail properties, and a war chest for immediate acquisitions and developments up to a further R625 million. It has a current pipeline of R400 million of similar assets, and further acquisition opportunities of up to R500 million.

“With Enyuka, Emira will receive the same returns from these retail properties as we would if the properties remained in the portfolio, plus will benefit from a share of any excess income above a benchmark. We will also benefit from the acquisition of new assets and enjoy meaningful participation in an actively-managed and growing base of rural retail assets,” explains Jennett.

The short-term challenges Emira faces are increased vacancies in its office portfolio, the oversupply of offices in the market, rising municipal costs, and negative rental reversions resulting from the weak macroeconomic environment.

Emira’s half-year was defined by an intense strategic focus on portfolio rebalancing out of the office sector, aggressive leasing and tenant retention, vigilant cost control, prudent financial management and identifying new opportunities.

While Emira successfully renewed 72.8% of space expiring during the half year, as expected its overall vacancies increased from 5.3% to 7.0%. Its low retail (3.6%) and industrial (1.2%) vacancies are better than the respective sector national averages measured by SAPOA. However, its office vacancies increased to 16%.

Jennett explains that, besides managing its vacancies with letting and tenant retention strategies, Emira is also better aligning its portfolio for a persistently tough market by reducing its exposure to office property. It is undertaking a significant non-core property disposal programme, which will further its rebalancing Initiative.

During the period, Emira sold and transferred two properties for R130,2 million at a combined premium to book value of 26.7%. It has committed to selling a further 19 properties valued at R917,1 million. Unconditional sales have already been concluded for R381,2 million of these properties, and they are expected to transfer before 30 June 2017.

Jennett says the disposal funds will be put to best use. As part of this process, Emira is also assessing its properties for potential upgrades, refurbishments, extension or even conversions to different uses, including residential.

“We want to put every asset to its highest use. Emira will continue to invest in projects that modernise, extend and redevelop our assets to enhance their values and competitiveness and extract value from existing bulk,” says Jennett. “Furthermore, we are planning some exciting projects that include the conversion of office space to residential space, where the best use of the asset is residential. Announcements in this regard will be made shortly”.

Currently, Emira has four projects underway, including the complete redevelopment of Knightsbridge, creating 30 000 m2 of quality offices in what will be the only P-grade green-certified office park in Bryanston. The phased project has already secured tenants WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff in 5 900 m2 and the KFC and Pizza Hut head offices in Africa in 3 150 m2 of efficient modern offices.

Favouring the offshore exposure it gets from its investment in Growthpoint Properties Australia (GOZ), Emira recently followed its rights and acquired a further 1 332 753 GOZ shares. It now holds 4.9% of GOZ shares in issue. Its GOZ investment is valued at R924,2 million with an investment cost of R416,8 million – this equates to a 121.7% increase in value. Emira’s income from GOZ grew by 1.7%, with the stronger ZAR against the AUD largely offsetting distribution growth.

Good news for Emira came in the form of winning an interim award to claim for a damages amount, still to be determined by the arbitrator, from Worley Parsons for breach of a valid lease agreement. No rental was accrued for this lease during the period.

Emira continues to enjoy good access to funding and, during the period, concluded a new R300 million four-year secured facility with Standard Bank. Its gearing remains a conservative 37.8%, with 84.0% of its debt fixed for a weighted average duration of 2.9 years.

It also completed a share buy-back programme of 14,016,201 Emira shares that benefits from the divergence between its equity value on the stock exchange and its net asset value. “We have great confidence in Emira’s prospects relative to its share price and believe it is an opportune time for share buy-backs,” says Jennett. Emira’s net asset value increased 1.4% during the period.
Emira is a medium-cap diversified JSE-listed REIT that is invested in a quality balanced portfolio of office, retail and industrial properties. Its assets comprise 142 properties valued at R13,3 billion. Emira is also internationally diversified through its direct interest in ASX-listed GOZ.

 

Shopping centre retail decision makers encouraged to attend the annual SACSC Research Conference

Shopping centre retail decision makers encouraged to attend the annual SACSC Research Conference

The Shopping Centre and Retail industry in South Africa, like everywhere else in the world, is rapidly evolving. This constant evolution is necessary in order to keep up with trends and consumer demand.

The Annual SACSC Research Conference, coordinated and hosted by the South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC), is an event focusing on this evolution and what research and education is necessary in order to satisfy consumers throughout the country while growing the retail and shopping centre industry. Now in its seventh year, the SACSC Research Conference is renowned for enlightening those in attendance about current and upcoming trends, consumer needs and satisfaction as well as technology.

Amanda Stops, CEO of SACSC (Photo: SA Property News)

Chief Executive Officer for the SACSC, Amanda Stops, said the upcoming SACSC Research Conference has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years and this year would be no exception. “This event was started in 2011 with the main objective of enhancing and satisfying the need for more information on up-to-date trends, technology and customer information with regards to retail and shopping centres. At the conference, we have industry professionals, local and international, who share their ideas and suggestions at the conference and keep shopping centre professionals up-to-date with these trends,” she said.

This year, entrepreneur and founder of Project Isizwe, Alan Knott-Craig and Chief Executive Officer for Instant Grass International, Greg Potterton will be two of the many guest speakers who will present at the conference. Alan, the man behind the free WiFi network in Tshwane will touch on the importance of internet being a basic need and how it affects consumers. Greg will be presenting on what the millennials are spending on and what they are looking for in a shopping experience.

Cushman & Wakefield Excellerate is the official sponsor of the 2017 SACSC Research Conference. Nomzamo Radebe, CEO of JHI – part of Cushman & Wakefield Excellerate said she was absolutely thrilled to be a part of such a highly-regarded event. “We at Cushman & Wakefield Excellerate feel privileged to be sponsoring the event, as we are firm believers that research provides the relevant knowledge in achieving a good commercial basis for sound business strategies and promotes innovative thinking, which is crucial in retail today. The benefits of the conference are immediately obvious.  Having a common platform for our industry to gain insight into ever changing shopper preferences, trends in technology and the retail market at large, ensures we remain at the forefront and deliver on these needs,” she added.
The conference takes place at the Maslow Hotel in Sandton on May 17, 2017. Those interested in can register on www.sacsc.co.za or call +27 (0) 10 003 0228 for more information.

 

 

Cresta’s new “family room oasis”

Cresta Shopping Centre’s state-of-the-art family room facility sets it apart from any other shopping mall in the country

Cresta’s new “family room oasis”

Cresta Shopping Centre recently launched an oasis for parents and their little ones at an intimate breakfast setting in the lower level of their newly renovated food and entertainment court.

This state-of-the-art family room facility sets the Centre apart from any other shopping mall in the country.

In the picturesque, clean setting of the family room oasis you will find well-appointed rooms with lockers, pram and trolley stations, a kitchenette with microwave ovens to warm up bottles or food, an interactive playroom with toys, a nappy changing room with comfortable changing stations and dedicated basins, a family bathroom and the much-coveted breastfeeding room complete with rocking chair .

Nikki Bush shared her “10 Commandments When Taking Your Children Shopping” with the audience

The breakfast launch was hosted by content producer, presenter and mom of two, Kim Jansen and featured a special keynote address by renowned parenting expert, author, motivational speaker, regular TV and radio guest presenter Nikki Bush. Bush who is co-author of three best-selling books: Future-proof Your Child, Easy Answers to Awkward Questions and Tech-Savvy Parenting, enthralled the audience with her latest on The 10 Commandments When Taking Your Children Shopping.

Virginia Bester, General Manager of Cresta Shopping Centre explains: “In a world where everything is on the go and digitized and parents are becoming more mindful of being present with their children, we saw the creation of this beautiful family room as more than just a facility, but rather as a parent-shopper’s dream.”

The family room oasis is the perfect retreat within the centre for parents to feed their babies, change nappies, or offer them a clean and beautifully decorated area to take a break from shopping. The new facility definitely sets a new standard.

“We know that the family room oasis will make it a little bit easier for parents and caregivers to connect with their children on their shopping days out,” says Bester.

Boasting over 250 stores and an immense variety of quality offerings, and a newly launched three level Food and Entertainment Court which includes over 25 local and international restaurants encompassing fast food and casual dining as well as cinemas, bingo, and entertainment offerings, and now the family room oasis, Cresta Shopping Centre knows that parents will enjoy their experiences at the Centre a little bit more with the benefit this safe haven offers them and their little ones.

“We are passionate about making sure our customers are able to shop in a pleasant, safe and secure environment at Cresta shopping Centre and that is why every step of our renovation process is so carefully thought through keeping our shoppers’ needs at the heart of everything that we do,” concludes Bester.

2017 will see our economy grow a little faster: Roodt

Dawie Roodt

2017 will see our economy grow a little faster: Roodt

Acclaimed economist Dawie Roodt shared his insights on the local and global economic landscape for retailers at the Gauteng leg of networking breakfasts hosted by the South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) in February.

Roodt addressed those in attendance at Sandton’s Balalaika Hotel, by touching on how Trump’s presidency will affect not only America’s economy but also Africa’s and the rest of the world. He also commented on South Africa’s increasing unemployment rate and how high debt will further send our economy on a downward spiral if no actions are taken immediately. “There are approximately nine million unemployed people in the country. We need to grow our economy steadily in order to curb the unemployment rate and in doing so we will strengthen the rand and this will have a positive knock on effect in the future,” he said.

Roodt made mention of the country’s retail industry and how resilient local retailers are in this tough economic climate. “We are faced with challenging times, in saying that I am impressed by how steadfast our retailers are. The retail industry at large is a vibrant and dynamic one. No matter where you go in the world, you are sure to find a retailer of sorts. This means that there are many opportunities-even in these tough economic times. The bottom line is that if retailers can survive under these challenges, they will fly once the economy stabilises. This year we will see our economy grow a little faster,” he said.

“My advice to retailers is that currently, the country is experiencing low interest rates at the moment. Capitalise on this low interest environment and capitalise now for the future. Position yourself towards economic growth because once our economy strengthens, retailers who have prepared for this can capitalise and succeed. I would also like let consumers know that we are all going through a tough time as well. The greatest weapon of all time is the pen and with the pen, we can decide who to put in power. With strong leadership, economies strengthen, unemployment decreases and people succeed,” added Roodt.

These quarterly networking breakfasts hosted by the SACSC take place in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg and are attended by retail, property and industry heavyweights. “Dawie Roodt is an acclaimed economist and his insights definitely have relevance for the retail industry,” said SACSC CEO Amanda Stops. “Collectively, these types of events give everyone a chance to monitor trends, exchange ideas and share knowledge to support our industry growth and deliver value to our members.”
The highly-regarded Dawie Roodt, who is currently Chief Economist at the Efficient Group, Limited, is renowned for his insights streaming from over two decades of economic and political analysis experience.

His career includes nine years as an Economist at the South African Reserve Bank and the Economics editorship of the financial magazine Finance Week and Finweek. He holds a Master’s degree (cum laude) in Economics.

Starbucks SA launches its feature-packed Rewards programme

Starbucks SA launches its feature-packed Rewards programme

Starbucks launched its much-anticipated loyalty reward programme at a function in Johannesburg in February.

Joining the growing South African digital landscape, Starbucks Rewards will allow customers to not only redeem rewards for their purchases but also conveniently pay at stores through the Starbucks mobile app.

Carlo Gonzaga, CEO of Starbucks licensed partner in South Africa, Taste Holdings

“This is a significant milestone for us as we launch this much-awaited loyalty programme in South Africa. Starbucks Rewards is a great way to thank our valued customers and at the same time, enhance the in-store experience and deliver value through an innovative digital solution, says CEO of Starbucks licensed partner in South Africa, Taste Holdings, Carlo Gonzaga.

Starbucks Rewards consists of two levels, Green and Gold, with each tier offering value-added benefits to customers. Customers start on the Green level and earn one star for every R2 spent; when customers have earned 250 stars, they unlock rewards such as free hand-crafted beverages and food. Members also enjoy exclusive offers such as early access to seasonal beverages. To get to the Gold level, customers need to earn 750 stars when they can access even more benefits, like free coffee on your birthday, free refills on freshly brewed coffee and tea, as well as invitations to member-only events. Customers can join the programme by registering directly on the app or through a Starbucks card available from stores.

The Starbucks mobile app offers more than a loyalty programme – it is a complete cashless payment solution that allows customers to pay for their purchases using an innovative ‘shake and pay’ feature. “Alternative payment methods to cash are on the rise, and there’s not much that’s more convenient than simply shaking to pay. A further benefit is never having to worry about carrying around your wallet or purse, as you pay directly from the app. Convenience and ease of use is paramount and we are confident that our app will deliver for our customers,” says Gonzaga.

The Starbucks mobile app is available for iOS and Android devices.
Key features:

Earn Stars: earn one Star for every R2 spent in Starbucks, when paying with a registered Starbucks account.
Starbucks Card: conveniently pay using the digital card with ‘Shake to Pay’ feature. A complete ecosystem that allows customers to top up from their credit card, selectively auto-reload, track rewards, view balances and account history.
Store locator: find and navigate to your closest Starbucks store including the trading hours, product offering and amenities offered, and even hail a cab directly from within the app.
eGifting: the perfect way to say Happy birthday or Congratulations. Send a voucher directly from your app and receive notifications once your gift has been delivered. The Starbucks gift card can be spent on anything at Starbucks stores.


Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting high-quality Arabica coffee. Today, with stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of speciality coffee in the world.

Taste Holdings is a South African-based management group and a leading licensor of global brands in the Southern Africa region. It owns and licenses a portfolio of franchised and owned, category specialists, Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) and retail brands currently represented in five countries in Southern Africa. Its food division has a 30-year master license agreement for Domino’s Pizza in Southern Africa. It also owns, operates, and franchises Zebro’s Chicken, The Fish & Chip Co. and Maxi’s Restaurants.

Its luxury goods division is underpinned by three owned retail brands – NWJ, Arthur Kaplan and World’s Finest Watches. NWJ is the third largest national jewellery chain by store numbers in the region. Arthur Kaplan and World’s Finest Watches are, together, the leading retailers of luxury Swiss watch brands in the region.

Taste is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) under the symbol “TAS”.

Steinhoff and Shoprite call off deal

Steinhoff and Shoprite call off deal

This Reuters report by Tiisetso Motsoeneng and TJ Strydom

Steinhoff and Shoprite in February called off a deal to create an African shopping giant, preventing leading investor Christo Wiese from bringing more of his retail assets under one roof.

Christo Wiese (Photo by Hetty Zantman/Financial Mail/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Billionaire Wiese, a shareholder in both companies and the architect of the deal, and other investors including state-owned pension fund the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) could not agree on the value of a share exchange.

The collapse of the deal will test Wiese’s determination to place more and more of his assets in one basket. It is a major victory for at least three of Shoprite’s minority shareholders who told Reuters that the commercial and strategic logic did not stand up to scrutiny.

The combination was estimated to have a value of more than R180 billion.

In a joint statement, the two firms said “the fact that the relevant parties could not reach an agreement in respect of the share exchange resulted in the negotiations being terminated.”

Complaints by Shoprite minorities – that the deal was sparse on details, lacked obvious cost-savings overlaps and would mean exchanging a stock with bigger potential for what they called inferior businesses – had depressed both companies’ share prices.

“There were no real synergies between the two,” said 36One Asset Management fund manager Evan Walker.

“We own shares in both, (and) kept shares in both hoping the deal would fail and sanity would prevail.”

Shares in Shoprite traded 7.5 percent higher at 1435 GMT. Steinhoff jumped 5 percent in Frankfurt and 4.8 percent in Johannesburg, where it has a secondary listing.

AFRICA’S IKEA

Under the deal, Steinhoff would have sold its African assets to Shoprite in return for a controlling stake in the $8 billion grocery chain. Steinhoff would have exchanged its shares for those of Shoprite’s top two shareholders — Wiese and the PIC, which like Wiese owns shares in both companies.

The deal would have given Steinhoff, dubbed Africa’s IKEA and which vies with the Swedish firm for global market share, a major interest in Shoprite, a 110 billion rand company operating in countries including Ghana, Nigeria and Angola.

It would have also ensured Wiese, who owns 16 percent of Shoprite, moved more of his assets into Steinhoff, in which he owns a 23 percent stake bulked up in 2014 through the cash and share sale of his Pepkor chain to the furniture retailer.

For Shoprite the termination of the deal allows it to focus its attention on growing its store network elsewhere on the continent.

It could also reassure Steinhoff’s shareholders who might have had concerns about a major deviation from its stated strategy of selling low-cost furniture and household goods.

“In my view, the deal was not crucial to either Shoprite or Steinhoff and it’s failing should not detract from the investment case of either company,” said Unathi Loos, an analyst at Investec Asset Management.

Steinhoff also owns retailers Poundland in Britain and Conforama in France.

However, the collapse of the tie-up might not deter Steinhoff from buying control of Shoprite if food retail is the cornerstone of its new strategy because the company could buy out a controlling stake from Wiese, who told Reuters last year he was looking for ways to consolidate his assets.

“It’s not the first time Wiese has tried to take out Shoprite. I don’t think will be the last,”

(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Writing by James Macharia and Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Keith Weir)