South Africa’s biggest retailers: Shoprite vs Woolworths vs Spar vs Pick n Pay

February 19, 2020
Posted in Article
February 19, 2020 Tumelo Moloi

Professional services group Deloitte has published its annual Global Powers of Retail report for 2020, ranking the 250 biggest retail groups across the world – including four from South Africa.

The ranking is based on publicly available data for FY2018, covering fiscal years ended through June 2019. Deloitte analyses a company’s performance across geographies, sectors, and channels.

The 2020 report marks the return of multinational group, Steinhoff into the rankings, after the group was dropped from the report in 2019 following its accounting fraud scandal that emerged in 2017/18, and the group’s subsequent failure to produce full year results.

Despite making a net loss of over $1.4 billion in FY 2018, Steinhoff’s $15.14 billion in retail sales in the year make it largest retailing group in South Africa by some margin, with Shoprite following with $10.59 billion in retail revenue.

Overall, Steinhoff ranks 64th in the list, followed by Shoprite (100th), the Spar Group (132nd), Pick n Pay (162nd) and Woolworths (205th).

All South Africa’s retailers dropped down the rankings, reflecting the tight trading conditions they face in South Africa, with spending under pressure amid low consumer confidence, creeping economic growth, and rising prices.

“Steinhoff and Shoprite were the major revenue contributors in the Middle East/Africa region in FY2018. However, with revenue for Steinhoff falling by more than 25%, and despite 3.6% growth for Shoprite, companies in the region recorded a decline in revenue of 0.4%, as compared to 9.8% growth in FY2017,” Deloitte said.

“The fall in revenue for Steinhoff was attributable largely to financial restructuring measures by the company, with the sale of its e-commerce business, Showroomprivé, through its subsidiary Conforama and Austrian furniture retailer Rudolf Leiner, popularly known as Kika/Leiner, to Rene Benko’s Signa Holding.

However, five retailers – including The Spar Group, Steinhoff, and Woolworths Holdings – were among the 50 fastest growing Top 250 retailers in FY2018, Deloitte noted.

The table below outlines how South Africa’s biggest retailers compare in the Deloitte report.

#RetailerCountriesFY2017 revenue ($m)FY2018 revenue ($m)% Change5Y CAGR
64Steinhoff30~20 35015 138-25.6%+15.5%
100Shoprite1511 29410 586-6.3%+8.0%
132Spar Group107 2527 867+3.9%+16.6%
162Pick n Pay76 2256 513+4.6%+6.9%
205Woolworths145 3325 039-5.5%+12.5%

Global retailers

According to Deloitte, the outlook for the global economy and the retail industry in 2020 is uncertain, with overall growth expected to be subdued, but positive.

Low growth in consumer spending and inflation remains low, while further uncertainty has been added by the Covid-19 outbreak in China.

“Countries that rely on China-led supply chains, such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, have faced disruption. Many businesses have suspended investments in their supply chains; others have adjusted and re-invested. Production has shifted from China to Vietnam, Mexico, and elsewhere,” Deloitte said.

Despite the waves hitting global retail, little is changed among the biggest retail giants in the world, with Wal-Mart retaining its position as the global leader in retail – by an insane margin.

Walmart registered year-on-year retail revenue growth of 2.8%, fuelled mainly by record growth in comparable store sales in the US. The company has focused on e-commerce as part of its omni-channel strategy – with a $5.4 billion investment in FY2018 – that led to growth in e-commerce sales by 40%.

Wal-Mart is again followed by Costco – but with over $370 billion in retail revenue separating the top two spots, it is nowhere close to toppling Wal-Mart.

Global online retailer Amazon has shifted one space in the ranking, now placing third, ahead of Germany’s Schwarz Group, and the Kroger Co, which slipped two spots.

These are the top 10 biggest retailers in the world:

#GroupCountryCountries of operationRetail Revenue (US$m)
1Wal-Mart StoresUnited States28514 405
2Costco Wholesale CorpUnited States11141 576
3Amazon.comUnited States16140 211
4Schwarz GroupGermany30121 581
5The Kroger Co.United States1117 527
6Walgreens Boots AllianceUnited States10110 673
7The Home DepotUnited States3108 203
8Aldi EinkaufGermany19106 175
9CVS Health CorporationUnited States283 989
10TescoUnited Kingdom882 799

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