Another top South African CEO resigns for move to Australia

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Senior vice president and chief executive officer of Massmart Wholesale, Doug Jones, has announced his departure from the group to take up a job opportunity in Sydney, Australia.

Massmart said in a trading update on Tuesday (2 November) that Jones will leave his role at the end of December 2021.

The leadership of Massmart Wholesale will be handed over to Llewellyn Walters. At the same time, the group said that the Game and Builders chief executives, who previously reported to Walters in his retail role, will report directly to Massmart chief executive, Mitch Slape.

Jones’ departure is the second significant executive departure in as many months, with the Clicks Group announcing that its chief executive and executive director Vikesh Ramsunder would also leave at the end of December to take up a chief executive role in Australia.

A difficult year 

In its trading update for the 39 weeks ended 26 September 2021, Massmart said that the 2021 financial year has been characterised by a softer consumer environment which weighed negatively on retail sales. Consumers prioritised spending on non-discretionary items.

Overall retail sales were subdued in August, following the July civil unrest as retailers assessed the damage and began to restore operations, it said. In addition, Massmart said that it continued to feel the adverse effects on liquor trading restrictions that resulted in 110 days of lost trade. Despite these issues, Massmart said that its turnaround plans are progressing.

“The Massmart turnaround plan continues to be implemented as scheduled, and management is confident that despite the recent headwinds, the strategic growth initiatives announced are bearing fruit, and we fully expect this to gain momentum and continue in the medium to long term,” it said.

“Our eCommerce strategy continues to gain momentum with the launch of the Makro and Builders mini-apps within the Vodapay Super App ecosystem. In addition, we have increased our stake in WumDrop to 100% announced the acquisition of OneCart and are investing in improving in-store picking processes toward improving last-mile delivery and customer confidence.”

Massmart’s total sales for the 39 weeks ended 26 September 2021, was flat (0.2%) to R60.6 billion, with comparable-store sales up 2.9% over the same period. Sales from its South African stores amounted to R55.4 billion, increasing by 1.2% on the prior year, with comparable-store sales rising 4.4%.

Black Friday and Christmas 

Massmart said it is well prepared for the upcoming Black Friday and festive trading periods.

“In the case of Black Friday, we have, on the strength of customer feedback, extended the promotion to cover the full month of November across our Makro, Game and Builders trading banners, all of which have, as part of our new ways of working, collaborated closely to leverage group-wide scale to negotiate deals that will deliver exceptional customer value whilst preserving margins,” it said. [BUSINESSTECH]

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