Sefalana is ending the year with its first ever production of own UHT milk, as the company successfully put to use their P21.5 million acquisition of the troubled Delta Dairies milk Plant that had closed indefinitely resulting in liquidation of its assets.
The retail behemoth is also introducing a range of soft drinks going by the brand name, Kwencha, which is expected to be available in all Sefalana stores in advance of Christmas.
Finance director, Mohamed Osman, says since they own 52 stores across Botswana, it is only vfeasible that they produce their own milk to supply their shops and extend their own house brand of products. The former Delta Dairies milk plant remains the only facility in Botswana capable of packaging the required milk measurement for purposes of government school feeding programme, which consumes on average P84 million a year.
Osman says that the milk plant has commenced operations with a staff compliment of 30 which they expect to increase as production volumes grow.
The retail giant is also aiming to relocate their juice making plant from Ramotswa to the same premises as the milk plant, where they expect to grow the beverages business including possibly bottling its own mineral water by end of next year. Both plants now fall under Sefalana’s Food Botswana brand, popular for the production of infants feeds, Tsabana, and Tsa Botlhe.
It has been a truly great year for the Sefalana Group which spent P3.5 million to date in the re-branding exercise that will continue into the coming year.
“It has been a great initiative for us. We are getting a lot of positive feedback from the branding exercise and this has gone a long way in also changing the shopping experience for our customers, extending the range of products and giving customers greater choice thus strengthening our brand further”.
The rebranding exercise also saw Sefalana introducing a common name for their house brands, which are now going by the name, A Star. “Now we have a house brand range with a common look and feel. Better quality and value,” enthuses Osman. Osman feels the rebranding exercise also helped the retail giant to have one common name for their 50 stores across the country which are now known as Sefalana. The Group now has five variants of Sefalana following their rebranding exercise, namely Sefalana Hyper, Sefalana Cash & Carry, Sefalana Shopper, Sefalana Quick, and Sefalana Liquor. “The signage has a common look only with different icons.
Of the five variants of Sefalana, the Sefalana Quick is the latest introduction and the first of the Sefalana Quick store opened in Mogoditshane mid 2015.
“It was very important that we have a presence in Mogoditshane where our competitors have made their mark. We will be increasing our presence in Mogoditshane in 2016, with possibly two additional shops,” adds Osman.
It was not just in Botswana where Sefalana’s aggressive plans bore fruit. In nearby Namibia, where the Group had been boasting of 13 stores, they increased their presence at the busy town of Swakopmund with a 14th store in November. It was their second store in Swakopmund which Sefalana views as a significant market with a large purchase power.
According to Osman, the Namibian stores performed 15-20 per cent higher than last year. “We are encouraged, and our plan is to increase our stores’ portfolio there to 20 in the medium term”, he shares with The Monitor.
Back home, Sefalana’s busy year in the retail business was perhaps punctuated by the opening of an online shopping platform that opened in late November to give Gaborone shoppers the choice to perform online shopping of any products in the Sefalana shop by the click of a button.
Sefalana, with the help of its partner BotswanaPost, then delivers the items to any address in Gaborone, work place or home, saving customers time, energy and fuel. Deliveries tend to be within 24 hours.
The online retail store has been put together by international and local consultants, and Osman says the early results have been very promising. “We are proud to be the first to market with this in Botswana and look forward to the market embracing this further”.
The success of the online store project in Gaborone will propel the retail giant to launch the offering in other urban centres in the coming year.
Also to close the year in style Sefalana won a number of awards for their 2015 annual report. They were declared the best in the sector of Commerce and Industry at the PwC annual report awards ceremony. They also took the overall prize for the best annual report in Botswana for 2015 along with the best designed report. The new Head Office in Broadhust is now the headquarters for the Group. The recent move to the new office will bring greater visibility to the company as a significant stock exchange listed organisation, according to the finance director.
These are some very significant achievements during 2015 that put Botswana in a pole position to blossom even further in 2016.