PICK n Pay officially opened its second branded store in Zimbabwe on Thursday, as the company intensifies its African expansion following the recent opening of another branded outlet in Kitwe, Zambia.
The South African supermarket giant Pick n Pay has entered the Zimbabwean retail sector through an investment in TM Supermarkets, in which it now owns 49 percent.
TM Supermarkets has an extensive network of branches across the country and some of these are being rebranded as Pick n Pay stores.
The new Pick n Pay-branded store, in Harare’s upmarket Westgate suburb, encompasses the supermarket, liquor and clothing outlets.
"The Pick n Pay store will offer an experience as unique as any," TM Supermarkets chief operating officer Bisset Chimhini said.
However, Pick n Pay has encountered criticism from Zimbabwean government officials, who have ramped up the pressure on the company to pick its stock from local producers.
Zimbabwean Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said last month: "The coming into the country (for instance of) Pick n Pay … is not the kind of foreign direct investment that would be in the interest" of the country. He said "99 percent" of the stock in Pick n Pay outlets in Zimbabwe was imported from South Africa.
This is despite the fact that Zimbabwean manufacturers are struggling for viability and operating below 50 percent of capacity utilisation.
Mr Chimhini has said the new Pick n Pay store in Harare will procure "the majority" of its stock from local producers. He said this was aimed at supporting local industry and stimulating growth in the country’s manufacturing sector.
As part of the company’s policy, the Pick n Pay shop will devote 40 percent of its floor space to fresh produce in "response to" increased calls for healthy eating and living.
Onias Makamba, the finance director at Meikles Limited, Pick n Pay’s partner in Zimbabwe, said the company would open two more branded stores this month, in Chinhoyi and Hwange, both outside Harare.
He said the first store, in Kamfinsa, was performing well.
"Forward planning suggests that TM Supermarkets will require further funding," Meikles chairman John Moxon has previously said. Funding was needed to "accelerate" refurbishments and pave the way for the opening of new supermarkets.