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Pick n Pay founder Raymond Ackerman with Chriszelle Joseph, vice-president: corporate coverage at Absa Corporate and Investment Banking. Picture: SUPPLIED
Pick n Pay founder Raymond Ackerman with Chriszelle Joseph, vice-president: corporate coverage at Absa Corporate and Investment Banking. Picture: SUPPLIED

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. In 1967, Raymond Ackerman, the driving force behind the company we know today as Pick n Pay, started the retail giant when he bought three small stores in Cape Town. The following year, Pick n Pay went public and listed on the JSE – with shares rocketing from R1 to R6.50 and reaching turnover of R5-million in the first year.

Absa was there from the beginning as a supportive and trusted partner, and continues to be there as a partner of choice, now banking a retailer with turnover of R77.5-billion.

Growth and expansion

Over the past five decades, Absa has been a dedicated partner in helping Pick n Pay Group achieve its vision of expansion to 1,560 stores in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Swaziland and Lesotho, as well as a significant share in TM Supermarkets in Zimbabwe.

Zambia was the first country where Pick n Pay opened a store outside South Africa and its neighbouring countries – and Absa played a critical role in helping to facilitate not just that expansion but also the growth of the retailer across African markets through its established banking relationship. 

Pick n Pay plans to grow its footprint in Africa further afield and the retailer looks forward to doing more business in areas where it can serve the needs of communities through its wide product range, affordable prices, great value and community-rooted staff.

Pick n Pay’s franchise model, which underpins an important part of its growth, has allowed small entrepreneurs to enter the retail sector and run their own businesses in different areas of South Africa. The group focuses on delivering good quality at great prices, improving the overall shopping experience and serving its customers in a variety of store formats appropriate to their shopping needs. For this reason, Pick n Pay appeals broadly to all sectors of society and seeks to move hand in hand with its customers’ changing needs and aspirations.

Banking on the success of your business

Absa and Pick n Pay’s shared commitment to serving their communities, and keeping the customer at the heart of the business, ensures they create shared value for the communities in which they trade. This path of shared value will lead to many more innovations that will help drive societal and economic progress in the country and on the continent.

These companies share the vision to encourage and enable small-scale entrepreneurs to become sustainable suppliers to the retail industry.

At the core of Absa Corporate and Investment Banking’s value proposition lies a deeper understanding of its customers’ business environment and the value chain in which they operate. This extends to the ability to have an honest and transparent relationship with its clients, resulting in the partnership that Absa and Pick n Pay have enjoyed for the past 50 years.

The partnership illustrates that when you bank with Absa, you partner with a bank that has your best interests at heart, a partner you can journey with into the future, and one that can take your business banking experience to the next level, to 50 years and beyond.

This article was paid for by Absa CIB.

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