The fastest growing convenience store retail brand in South Africa, FreshStop, recently opened its 300th store in Sherwood, Durban. Now in its 10th year, the initial Food Lover’s Market and Chevron alliance that set the ball rolling in Table View in 2009, has matured into a strong and steadfast retail giant within the convenience retail sector.
With the recent buy-out of Chevron by Astron Energy (Pty) Ltd, the FreshStop at Caltex alliance has been confirmed and the FreshStop team is confident of continued business growth. “We have experienced excellent growth in the past 10 years and we are working closely with our partners, retailers and suppliers to guarantee further innovation and business success in the coming years. With our larger national footprint, we are focusing more on logistics and distribution, and support services such as IT; alongside developing technologies and keeping the relationships we have with our suppliers strong,” says Joe Boyle, Managing Director of FreshStop.
According to Jonathan Molapo, CEO of Astron Energy (Pty) Ltd, owner of the Caltex brand, “Our partnership with FreshStop is one we are truly proud of. Together we have changed the face of the retail service station industry, offering a truly unique forecourt experience to our customers. The opening of our 300th FreshStop at Caltex store is a proud moment for both brands and testament to the success we continue to enjoy.”
Food and Innovation Driving Sales
According to Boyle the SA convenience store retail market still offers opportunities to those wanting to experiment, innovate and find new ways of meeting customers’ needs. One way FreshStop has done this is to introduce local in-house food brands. “We have led the market in introducing food brands into our stores and we will continue with this strategy. We’re passionate about building and introducing local brands that will deliver a fresh, innovative and quality product to our customers”. In the last few years, FreshStop has introduced Crispy Chicken, Grill to Go, Hooked On fish and chips, Hot Dog Bar, Africaz, and Seattle Coffee outlets in-stores countrywide. The FreshStop Diner concept has also been a success with eight Diners currently in operation.
Coffee remains a huge driver in the fuel retail space and competition is tight with coffee still seen as a luxury purchase. However, FreshStop at Caltex is currently working on a project to localise and Africanise the coffee-drinking experience by working with local producers who can create a superior coffee offering for the up-and-coming millennial market. “We mustn’t underestimate the volume at the lower-end of the market. We want a value for money product that offers a consistent quality product”.
Growth of the C-Store Industry
Competitors in the convenience retail market have also been expanding with Pick n Pay Express stores at BP doing well in terms of market penetration, and growth in the Mugg & Bean ‘On the Move’ outlets at Total and Vida e Caffes at Shell. “This continued growth in the market, despite our tough economic conditions, proves that retailers are riding the convenience retail wave. This includes companies such as Famous Brands who have recently opened quite a few outlets within the fuel forecourt retail sphere.
“The progress being made by our competitors shows growth and demand in the c-store retail industry. Trends are pointing to the fact that local brands are proving to be a better fit than international brands and this better fit culturally gives rise to better results overall. With this growth in the industry and our strategic plans in place for conversions, Re-Freshes and local brand innovations, we’re aiming to have 400 Freshstop at Caltex stores open and achieve R4bn in the next four years, which will see us doubling our turnover,” Boyle concludes.
Source: Byte Media – www.bytemedia.co.za