Takealot Group to extend reach in towns and townships


Takealot Group, which includes South Africa’s biggest e-commerce retailer Takealot.com, is pushing further into townships and growing its new grocery partnership to defend its market share.

Competition is expected to intensify following a report US e-commerce giant Amazon will launch locally in the coming year. Amazon has declined to comment on the report.

Mamongae Mahlare, the chief executive officer of Takealot, said the group’s delivery network and local appeal would ensure it competed. “Our confidence lies in South Africans, lies in us as a home-grown South African business,” she said in an interview with Reuters.

She said the company, owned by tech investment firm Naspers, already had pick-up points in all provinces and the ability to deliver into smaller towns, but would “never be satisfied with where we’re at”.

“What we’ve been doing is making sure that we’re expanding our footprint so that whether you’re living in Lusikisiki or you’re living in Thembisa or uMlazi, you’re able to get delivery from Takealot.com or Superbalist,” she said, referring to small towns and townships.

Investing for growth

E-commerce’s share of South Africa’s total retail sales more than tripled to around 5% from 2019 to 2021, according to Euromonitor International, but it lags behind many developing nations.

Without giving any investment figures, Mahlare said Takealot was investing to increase the penetration and take-up of its businesses, including on-demand food delivery Mr D Food and fashion online retailer Superbalist.

“Even with our Mr D business, we’ve expanded into townships, which were areas where we had previously had a target to grow into and so we’re progressing on that march,” she said.

Mr D Food also entered the on-demand fresh grocery sector in partnership with grocery retailer Pick n Pay in August, to cash in on fast-growing demand for buying essentials online, a trend that has been boosted by pandemic lockdowns.

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