CHOPPIES Enterprises Limited has taken over Solomons Supermarket in Bulawayo as it continues to expand its supermarket chain, in a deal expected to create more jobs particularly for the city’s unemployed youths.
The Botswana-based retail giant last year took over Sai Enterprises owned by Bulawayo business mogul Raj Modi. He bought back 20% of the shareholding in a major deal early this year.
It has emerged Choppies, which already owns more than 10 supermarkets, has swooped on Solomons Supermarket located between Fife Street and Fourth Avenue.
The premises of Solomons Supermarket, a popular retail outlet both before and after the adoption of the multiple currency system in January 2009, had been closed for sometime.
Choppies managing director Raj Modi confirmed the take-over of Solomons Supermarket, adding that as new owners they would start operations in about six weeks’ time.
“Yes, it is true that we have taken over Solomons Supermarket. We didn’t pay anything because we took over an empty building. We will start operations in six weeks’ time,” he said.
Choppies bought into Modi’s business empire in October last year after he sold his entire Sai Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd to Nanavac Investment (Pvt) Ltd — in which Botswana Stock Exchange-listed Choppies has a 49% stake while local entrepreneur Siqokoqela Mphoko holds 51%.
Modi, however, bought back a 20% stake in Choppies Zimbabwe barely six months after selling off his entire Sai Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd business to Botswana’s largest retail outlet.
Meanwhile, Choppies has indicated it is targeting opening 100 shops with 20 of the outlets expected to be located in Bulawayo.
The company is headquartered in Bulawayo and expects to list on the local bourse going forward.
Choppies has 63 stores in Botswana and 13 outlets in South Africa. It is reportedly mulling plans to expand into Zambia and Mozambique and other countries in the sub-Saharan Africa in the near future.
Choppies Enterprises plans to expand its footprint in Zimbabwe this year after opening 13 retail outlets since it entered the local market in October last year.
Choppies acquired a 49% stake from Modi’s investment company, Modi Enterprises, for $21,2 million and took over 11 outlets that were operating under the AaroMart and SPAR franchises in Bulawayo.
It added two more, the last in January this year.
Chairman Festus Mogae (former Botswana president) said the group will increase its presence in Zimbabwe and other Southern African countries by acquiring more retail shops.
“As part of our further expansion plans, we expect to open many more stores in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana in the current fiscal year,” Mogae said in a statement accompanying the group’s unaudited half-year financials to December 31 2013.
He said results from the Zimbabwean operations will be incorporated in the financials for 2014.
It listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange in 2011 and its market capitalisation now stands at BWP4,9 billion.
– Additional reporting/The Source