Pharmacy, health and beauty retailer Clicks has opened the doors to its 800th store, located at Somerset Crossing in the Western Cape. The company aims to open between 25 and 30 new stores each year with an overall target of 900 stores situated throughout South Africa by 2026.
Bertina Engelbrecht, Clicks Group CEO (centre) at the opening of Clicks 800th store at Somerset Crossing Shopping Centre with (left to right) Vikash Singh (Clicks managing executive), Gift Jeffrey (Clicks area manager), Dhevan Pillay (Clicks chief store operations officer) and Musa Mkhwanazi (Clicks regional manager). Photo credit: Jaco Cilliers Photography.
This rate of store expansion could be accelerated as opportunities become available, says Clicks managing executive Vikash Singh, pointing out that the retailer is committed to investing and growing the South African economy.
According to the company, each new store creates around 20 in-store employment opportunities as well as five additional employment opportunities for support staff.
The opening of Clicks' 800th store comes despite the challenges posed by the July 2021 unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng which saw some of its stores and distribution centres impacted, and the fourth wave of Covid-19 pandemic which commenced in late 2021. Singh says a return to a semblance of normality in terms of shopping and spending behaviours augers well for the continued growth of the retailer.
Clicks states that the primary driver of its success is predicated on a "proud heritage as a value retailer, a tradition of customer care and convenience". The latter is reflected in a growing footprint of stores to ensure customers are easily able to access Clicks' range of health and beauty products.
Clicks' ultimate aim is for the majority of households in South Africa to be situated within a 5km radius of a Clicks store, with each store tailored to the needs of the community it serves.
"Not only does our expanded footprint mean that 50% of the population are now within easy proximity to a Clicks store and therefore able to access affordable healthcare, but our growing number of stores also creates new job opportunities," says Singh.
The Clicks ClubCard rewards programme, which now has close to 9.5 million members, also helps to drive growth through easily redeemable benefits, he adds.
Online vs in-store
While the retailer's online offering saw significant growth during the various waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, customers have reverted to brick and mortar stores, reveals Singh. The exception to this trend is its dedicated baby stores where hardware baby products such as prams, cots and car seats are primarily sold online.
"Clicks has a 20% share of the baby market. Our three dedicated baby stores at Mall of Africa, Canal Walk and Gateway are a one-stop destination for baby essentials, offering a wider range of baby products than is found at a traditional Clicks store. In line with global trends, hardware baby products are typically purchased online with baby stores acting as showrooms," Singh says.
Operating in South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, Clicks currently employs 16,550 people across its 800 stores which includes 650 pharmacies and 195 Clicks Clinics.