BOTSWANA – Choppies Enterprises, the Botswana-based supermarket chain that listed on the JSE in May, plans to open about 30 stores in the year to end-June and may also expand via acquisitions as it seeks to increase market share in the region.

“We will open stores through organic growth in Botswana, SA, Zimbabwe and Zambia,” CEO Ram Ottapathu said on Thursday.

The retailer was also seeking to buy companies and may enter Tanzania and Kenya.

Choppies, which had 129 stores at the end of June, is expanding in sub-Saharan Africa to take advantage of rising household incomes, economic growth, a switch by shoppers to stores from outdoor markets, and an increasing demand for fresh food.

It competes with South African retailers such as Shoprite, Walmart Stores-owned Massmart and Pick n Pay, which are also opening outlets across the continent.

Choppies had no plans to expand beyond sub-Saharan Africa, Mr Ottapathu said.

“In SA, it’s very competitive, but we have been competing in Botswana with these other chains, so we are used to it.”

Profit in the year to end-June has risen 21% to 202.8-million pula(R260.5m), Choppies reported on September 22.

The stock has climbed 16% to R5.70 on the JSE, valuing the company at R7.2bn – Bloomberg