Woolworths emphasises market distinctiveness


“It’s all about understanding that if you make an investment and you invest in a different market, you can’t force your standards, your principles and your way of doing business on a different business,” Moir, the CEO of Woolworths told CNBC Africa on Tuesday.

The South African-based retail group has a presence in a number of countries outside South Africa. These include: Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Lesotho, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Ghana.

Moir alluded to Nigeria as a particularly difficult market space to breach and emphasised that it’s vital to treat each market as an individual entity. 


 “We want to own those businesses, control those businesses but we also want to recognise they are different, they should be run differently and they have different requirements,” he said.

Woolworths reported a 23 per cent increase in sales on Tuesday which was 20 per cent better than analysts expected. This means the company’s earnings per share is expected to increase by 23 to 28 per cent.

 “Any good business is only as good as its people in its senior team and throughout the business. We’re very fortunate, we’ve got a stable senior management team. We’ve got great guys, great experience, been around a long time, complimentary skills – makes a big difference,” Moir explained.

He revealed that Kenya is one of the retailers’ strongest markets. There are 12 stores in Kenya and it’s expected that four more stores will be added to that list in the next year and a half.

Moir believes in the Africa’s commercial potential but emphasised that more can be done.

“We’re not doing a good enough job in Africa. Our flow of goods isn’t good enough, profiling of the store, understanding of the customer and giving it more of a priority within the business. By doing those things we can grow our Africa business.”