Fashion retailer Mr Price has launched its first container store in a bid to gain greater access to the growing township economy.
The move into townships will take the retailer closer to where many of its customers live, Matthew Warriner, Mr Price’s head of corporate communications, told Business Insider SA.
He explained, “Our customers have been asking us to become even more accessible, and this one-store test is to provide customers with a convenient shopping option, saving them from the time and cost of travelling to shop at Mr Price.”
The group launched its first container store in Illovo town in Ethekwini, KwaZulu-Natal. It has the same catalogue as similar-sized Mr Price stores.
Warriner said Mr Price recruited the store’s employees from the local community. It leases the space from a private individual who owns the land on which the store is built.
“The response and support from the local community has blown us away, we are really pleased with the results to date, albeit very early in the (testing phase),” he said.
Shoprite Usave ekasi stores
Mr Price follows in the footsteps of Shoprite, which has established Usave ekasi stores in various parts of South Africa for three years now.
This has sparked debate on whether such stores stifle the traditional, owner-managed spaza shops in the townships or create local jobs and increase tax revenue for the government.
The latest development also comes after the Competition Commission and Shoprite announced a consent agreement last month.
Under the agreement, Shoprite will stop imposing exclusivity provisions in its longterm lease agreements with landlords in non-urban areas where it has stores.
This will give spaza shops and other SMMEs greater access to leasing space at shopping centres in such areas.
Previously, the exclusivity provisions prevented SMMEs from opening stores near Shoprite in townships and areas outside towns and cities.