With the Africa’s Big Seven trade show at a close, news from the food industry in SA and abroad is starting to make headlines.
On Tuesday morning, Paul Tilsley, veteran CNN correspondent quizzed Simon Mathers, international retail expert, on what Walmart’s entry in to SA means for local retailers. Mathers spoke about the top 50 retail giants globally, of which none are South African, but reassured the locals he sees promise in many South African super markets. He did warn, ‘SA is not yet in the play when it comes to retailing.’
Tilsley asked, ‘Who should be scared of Walmart’s entry?’ and Mathers emphasised, SA has to up the services it's offering. ‘Walmart is bringing healthy competition and it will enhance small retailer’s relationship with their customers.’
He added, ‘Walmart is going to bring certain products from other parts of the world. Local suppliers should get on the bandwagon and get their products on to the global market.’ South African wines are a good example of quality products making international headway. ‘There are great opportunities,’ he said.
As far as South African retailers going global? ‘In general South African retail standards are good,’ said Mathers. ‘There’s one in particular that understands the African market very well. I can see this business getting in to the Gulf and Middle East,’ Mathers advised.
To end the discussion, Tilsley asked Mathers about the rumours concerning Tesco entering the SA retail scene. Mathers said, ‘We could see Tesco being the number one retailer in five years. I see Tesco in the African market very soon!’