The fast growing chain stores group, Choppies is rumoured to be in the process of acquiring the Square Mart departmental store located at the new Central Business Development (CBD) before the end of this year, sources have revealed. According to an insider at Choppies, talks have been on the table between the Choppies Group Chief Executive Offi cer, Ramachandran Ottapath and the Executive Chairman of the GH Group, Gulaam Husain Abdoola. “It is envisaged that at least by end of 2013 the group would have taken over the Square Mart.
Currently, what I understand is that Ottapath is still observing the operations of the Square Mart before reaching a final decision,” the source revealed, noting that Square Mart is a loss making entity at the moment. “It has not been attracting a lot of customers and it is quiet expensive for most of the people,” the source said furthermore. Reached for comment, Choppies CEO, Ottapath laughed off the rumours. “I do not know anything about it,” he said. Further asked if there are any future plans to take over other available supermarkets, he said, “nothing that I know of.” Efforts to speak to Abdoola were futile.
Square Mart fi rst opened its doors in 2008 offering customers a wide range of food and non-food items under one roof. The store is modelled on American chain store giant, Wal-Mart, that is renowned for being a discount departmental store that does not compromise on quality. Unlike chain stores such as Shoprite, Pick n’ Pay, Choppies and Spar that sell mostly food, Square Mart also offers a variety of non-food merchandise like gifts, luggage bags, television and radio sets, tools, cosmetics, perfumes, jewellery, ornaments, leather goods and linen under one roof. When the store was opened, the GH Group said the plan was to set high standards for future retail development in Botswana. The GH Group are the promoters of the Square Mall and Square Mart
Meanwhile, the Competition Authority recently gave Choppies a green light to acquire Supa Save and Mega Save on conditions that they keep employees and vacate the premises occupied by Supa Save in a period of five years. Supa Save operates six stores in Gaborone, Mogoditshane, Molepolole and Palapye, making just over 1 per cent of the retail market’s total market share, compared to Choppies whose market share is close to 40 per cent, way above the 25 per cent threshold set by the anticompetition watchdog. Choppies stores in the country are approaching 60 and they have 15 in South Africa.