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Choppies lines up more stores

Choppies lines up more stores
CHOPPIES CEO: Ottapathu

Despite boasting 90 stores locally and 64 supermarkets in three other SADC countries, Choppies Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ramachandran Ottapathu says the enterprise plans to open more stores.

Choppies currently operates 90 stores in Botswana, 32 in Zimbabwe, 26 in Zambia, and six in Namibia.

Ottapathu says the company continues its retail journey in the most sustainable and balanced way.

“We are planning to add stores in a measured manner and will continue our efforts of being a good responsible social player supporting our stakeholders and the communities in which we operate,” Ottapathu said in Choppies’ latest annual report.

However, he did not state where and when Choppies will open these additional stores.

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Meanwhile, Choppies Chairman, Uttum Corea said notwithstanding the macro-economic challenges, Choppies managed to return to profitability this year for the first time since 2016.

These challenges included fluctuating commodity prices, high increases in power tariffs, petrol price increases and Value Added Tax (VAT) increase in Botswana, and an increase in inflation.

“Notwithstanding these challenges, Choppies marked a return to profitability in the first half of the year, the first time since 2016,” said Corea.

He explained that this successful turnaround was driven by the revised strategy put in place by the new Board last year.

The three-year turnaround strategy consisted of divestment from loss-making regions; slow and managed expansion in profitable regions; debt restructure and reduction; improved corporate governance; improved stakeholder relationships, and developing a shared-value strategy.

During the period, Corea said Choppies successfully divested from loss-making regions in South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, and Tanzania.

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“This made a significant difference to overall performance as the Botswana operations had maintained profitability throughout,” Corea said.

The Choppies chairman said the group is committed to slow and managed expansion in other areas that show potential and have therefore focused on Zambia, Namibia, and Zimbabwe outside its home market of Botswana.

“This careful and measured approach has proven successful. We opened four new stores in Zambia and one new store in Namibia,” he revealed.

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