Company to Watch: Mr Price / South Africa


By Gordon Platt

Mr Price Group has developed a successful retail formula in South Africa that could work well in markets across Africa.

The majority of Mr Price’s 1000-plus stores are in South Africa, but it also has outlets and franchises in 10 other African countries. On March 29, it opened its first store in Nigeria. “Nigeria will be a good test for us,” says CEO Stuart Bird. “It is the farthest away from our home market that we have ever operated.”

The group listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange 25 years ago. It has franchises in the fast-growing consumer markets of Mozambique, Ghana and Kenya but prefers to open its own stores in the new markets it is prospecting in West Africa. It will also introduce online shopping in South Africa this year.

With a high unemployment rate right now in South Africa affecting domestic consumption, the company’s expansion outside its home market will be key to its growth over the coming few years. Mr Price has no long-term debt and plans to grow organically using cash flows.