Time was when Pick n Pay was SA’s pre-eminent supermarket chain. It held this position all through the late 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. It wasn’t really until the end of the previous millennium that it started getting serious competition from a hitherto little-known operation from Brackenfell called Shoprite.

But Pick n Pay was way ahead of Shoprite on virtually every retailing metric imaginable with better profit margins and trading densities. So it was Pick n Pay’s game to lose...

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