Jamie Carr Columnist

The food retail sector can get more than a little Darwinian when disposable income is under a squeeze and the nation’s shoppers are on the hunt for a bargain. The trolley pushers are ruthless proponents of the theory of natural selection when it comes to shaving a few cents off the price of their can of pilchards, and any operator that is not on top of its game will soon find itself on the wrong end of the survival of the fittest. Fortunately for its stakeholders, Pick n Pay’s results show that the retail giant is bursting with health, posting numbers that would be creditable in times of plenty and are remarkable under the current economic conditions. There’s nothing revolutionary about its long-term business plan, which focuses on building a lean and cost-effective business offering customers value, quality and innovation, but while this may be a simple enough strategy to articulate, it is another thing altogether to execute and continue to do so at this level. Key to the company’s...

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