SOUTH AFRICA – Pick n Pay, a South African retailer, has announced that the group’s chief finance officer, Aboubakar Jakoet is set to retire after serving in the position for about 8 years.

Jakoet who was appointed as the groups CFO in 2011 will however, remain in the position until a successor is appointed after which he will serve in a non-executive capacity on the board, a report by Business Day reveals.

“The board of directors is finalising the appointment of a successor and shareholders will be updated in due course,” Pick n Pay said.

Commenting on his tenure, Gareth Ackerman Pick n Pay’s chair said: “Bakar’s contribution to the company over 34 years has been immense. Bakar’s tenure as CFO has been invaluable over an extremely important period in our history.”

Improving balance sheets

While presenting its financial results for the 53 weeks period to March 3rd 2019, the retailer said that its net profit rose by about 20% while its diluted headline earnings per share were up 26.1%. 

Pick n Pay said its stores within South Africa performed well driven by a more competitive price position and a better product offering, while its operations outside SA experienced operating challenges.

Earnings from its markets outside the country however, declined by 16.2 percent year-on-year, reflecting difficult economic conditions in Zambia and the once-off impact of currency devaluation in Zimbabwe.

Profit after tax was US$114.74 million (R1.65bn) in the 53-week period, compared to US$90.4 million (R1.3bn) in the prior 52-weeks while on a pro-forma basis, net profit was up 19.9% as turnover grew 7.1% coupled with improved margins.

It said the group had maintained its focus on the objectives set out in its long-term plan of building a leaner and more cost-effective business.

“Over the past six years, a relentless focus on improving cost and operating effectiveness has enabled the group to invest in a winning customer offer through lower prices, more attractive promotions, better and more innovative products.

“The group continues to build a stronger and more resilient business in Zambia, and remains confident of the long-term growth prospects of this business, notwithstanding a currently difficult trading environment,” Pick n Pay said.

The group has an established presence in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Eswatini, Zambia and Zimbabwe, although trading conditions in these countries have been challenging at times, particularly in Zambia and more recently in Zimbabwe.

Despite the weaker contribution from outside SA, Pick n Pay said it had started building a store in Nigeria, which would open in 2019, and it planned to open two more in that market.