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Shoppers store to exit Station Market

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Sefalana Group is planning to relocate Shoppers store from Station Market where it is struggling to make profits, says Managing Director, Chandra Chauhan.

Speaking to the Business Trends, Chauhan said the retail sector has recorded 12 percent growth but some of the shops are struggling. “Although we have this growth, our Shoppers store at the Station Mall is struggling and we are planning to exit that market,” said Chauhan.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the company’s recent announcement of its interim results to October 2015.  He explained that they will not close the shop but they will relocate it to another place. The shop is not making profit but it is breaking even therefore struggling to pay rent.

“We are not making a loss as such but we are breaking even. This is going to become a loss because the rental is expensive. The location of the shop is not in a good place for consumers because most people are now shopping in Rail Park Mall,” said Chauhan.

Chauhan said the retail division is gaining traction in the Botswana market as the number of stores increases an awareness of house brands. Turnover amounted to over P1.2 billion which was 13 percent up on the same period last year and profit before tax amounted to P46, 3 million which was 28 percent up on the prior period. 

Sefalana cash and carry Limited contributed 66 percent and 58 percent of the Group’s revenue and profit before tax for the reporting period. During the period the group opened Shoppers Supermarkets in Mogoditshane and Hukuntsi bringing the current retail outlets to 22 and a total number of Sefalana stores across Botswana to 50.

In November 2015 the group launched Botswana’s first online shopping site, which Chauhan said is receiving positive feedback from customers. “We are pleased to be leaders in the market with this initiative and although still in its infancy, we are receiving a lot of positive feedback from our customers. We are excited about this channel and look forward to seeing this grow as we enter into 2016 and our customer base becomes more sophisticated,” said Chauhan.

He said they continue to seek additional suitable locations for further store openings as they are targeting 70 stores across Botswana.

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SMEs benefit from Consumer Fair growth

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The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has applauded Botswana Consumer Fair’s continued efforts to improve small to medium enterprises’ linkages.

BITC Chief Executive Officer, Keletsositse Olebile, when opening the fair, said the event has provided interactive forum for both local and foreign exhibitors. He said the shopping show has enabled manufacturers, wholesalers and traders to market their products directly to consumers, an alignment to government’s endeavors.

“As part of government intention, we continually encourage local sourcing by retailers and distributors,” said Olebile who is just few months into his new post. He further celebrated the growth of Botswana Consumer Fair over the years, attributing the expansion to quality of goods displayed at the previous shows.“Improved quality and increased variety of wares increases the interest of the visitors and makes them look forward to returning the following year,” said Olebile.

This year’s exhibitors at the 13th event still running under the banner: ‘It is more than just shopping’ have been drawn from Lesotho, Zambia, Swaziland, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Japan, India, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Consumer Fair is a flagship event for Fairgrounds Holdings and provides a platform for small medium enterprises (SMEs) from the different sectors of the economy to showcase and promote their products and services. In addition, the SMEs are expected to establish long term business linkages and promote local manufactured goods.Fairgrounds Holdings is already optimistic that the Fair immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of the country through supporting SMEs.

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‘Involve SMMEs in standards development’-Minister

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo appealed to Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to include the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) when developing the standards to improve the sector.

She said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has identified three areas of focus going forward which are modeled on SMME development, investment promotion and export development apexes. “I would like to implore you to include this sector in standards development processes and assist in improving SMMEs conformity to standards and compliance to technical regulations,” said Kenewendo.

Speaking during the BOBS Technical Committee Members appreciation ceremony on Thursday, Kenewendo explained that the important roles of standards are underpinned by the aspirations and intentions espoused in both diversified export led economic growth and job creation as priority areas. “It goes without saying that the diversification of the economy requires a National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework that promote competitiveness of Botswana goods and services.”

She also emphasized that an effective National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework are essential as they provide crucial links to global trade, market access and export competitiveness through their contribution to consumer confidence in product safety, quality and the environment.Since inception in 1997 BOBS has published more than 1700 standards through 48 technical committees across several sectors of the economy; 109 certification licences have been issued against some of these standards. Currently 46 Botswana Standards are being implemented through the standards regulations with a view to protecting the health and safety of consumers as well as protection of the environment.

On her note, BOBS Vice Chairperson of the Standards Council, Professor Edward Dintwa said standards are powerful tools for helping organisations that implement them to realize their potential, have access and compete in the global marketplace. “In this highly competitive and complex world, issues of sustainability and productivity, viewed from economic, environmental and societal perspectives require that businesses must be more efficient in their operations, which can be achieved through the implementation of standards”.

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