Clicks Group CEO Vikesh Ramsunder says the brand remains committed to investing in South Africa and is moving towards achieving its overall target of 900 stores in the country.
Operating in South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, with over 13,000 staff across its stores, Clicks aimed to open 25 to 30 new stores by the end of 2019. However, the Group has been able to accelerate this to 41, as retail space in earmarked centres becomes increasingly available.
“Our expanding store base creates opportunities for job creation in a time when the country needs it the most, particularly for young people in the retail sector,” Ramsunder says.
The Clicks Group half-year results, in which it reported a 13.2% rise in interim diluted headline earnings per share, are indicative of the company’s ability to thrive despite a weak economic environment.
Ramsunder says that growth was experienced across all health and beauty categories. The Clicks range of private label products, from toiletries to baby products and medicines, as well as the Sorbet beauty range, continued to perform well.
According to Ramsunder, Clicks’s growth drivers stand on the three pillars of convenience, differentiation and personalisation. “We will continue to expand on the first two. However, personalisation is still in its infancy. We will be using our ClubCard database to communicate with customers, focusing on technology to assist us to achieve a more personalised experience for our customers, as we move into a more digitally transformed world in the next 5 to 10 years.”
Online shopping at Clicks currently accounts for a small percentage of turnover and is the fastest-growing store, and Ramsunder says that it will no doubt become a bigger contributor to sales in the future. But he believes that brick and mortar stores will continue to thrive, not only because people want to touch and feel products, but because patients will need to come in to re-fill their prescriptions.