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Shoprite-owned Checkers became the first retailer in South Africa to rollout standalone pet stores seven months ago; by the end of the year, it will have a total of 12.

Checkers opened its first dedicated pet store, Petshop Science, on 6 April at the Fairbridge Mall in Cape Town. This week, the retailer opened its 10th store under its Pet Science banner in Eden Meander, George. It has further plans to open two more before the end of the year in Table Bay Mall, Sunningdale, and St Johns Centre, Pinetown, in mid-December.

The specialist Petshop Science stores, which act as a one-stop-shop for pet essentials, feature pet owners’ needs at supermarket prices, the retailer said. Its employees also offer individual attention and expert advice.

Willem Hunlun, COO of Checkers, said the retailers’ rapid rollout of Pet Science is a response to its customers’ response to its first dedicated pet store.

“We saw a gap in the market when it came to pet care, and following the great customer response to the first Petshop Science, we’ve been hard at work rolling out more specialist pet shops. Our aim has always been to bring customers everything their four-legged companions could want and need – at supermarket prices,” Hunlun said.

The Shoprite group has been aggressively rolling out standalone stores across various categories. Last month, it opened its first standalone Checkers Little Me baby store and the smaller format Checkers Foods store, whose objective is to be positioned deeper into communities and closer to its customers.

Under its pharmacy division, it launched a dedicated Medirite Plus store that had previously only existed inside the retailer’s supermarkets.

The expansion of the pet store footprint is in line with its pet insurance offering, which the retailer introduced last year. The retailer is taking advantage of the country’s booming pet economy with more South Africans, especially millennials opting to own pets over becoming parents themselves.

In a stellar set of results delivered two months ago for the year ended 4 July, the Shoprite group shared its plans to explore new formats.

For the period, it managed to grow sales by 8.1% to R168 billion and increased trading profit by R24.9% to R10.3 billion.

In its 2021 annual report, it said that some of its strategic growth opportunities include investing in a range of initiatives. These include building on Checkers’ position in the market, opening new stores and developing new formats, and embarking on store refurbishments.


Article written by: Ntando Thukwana

Photo credit: Supplied/Shoprite


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