Long road ahead for Pick n Pay

The retailer announced an 8.1 percent increase in till sales over the past six months.

Pick n Pay's CEO says the company has improved in the last six months. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Pick n Pay's retired founder Raymond Ackerman admits it will take time to get the company out of its financial doldrums, but he has faith that CEO Richard Brasher is the man to do it.

Commenting on the retailer's financial results which were announced at its Kenilworth head office on Tuesday, Ackerman says the company had to make major changes to achieve an 8.1 percent increase in till sales over the past six months while facing stiff competition.

He says the success of companies like Walmart-owned Massmart and Shoprite Checkers has posed a challenge to Pick n Pay.

"The whole spirit which we built this company on was very good. We had wonderful years of growth. But there's no question that with Walmart coming in and the huge success of Shoprite Checkers, we had to make dramatic changes which were very, very difficult.

"There's actually a lot we've got to do to catch up and to get back to being the leading retailer."

He says the struggle Pick n Pay has been through has affected him personally.

"I probably didn't sleep for the last two or three years. It's worried me absolutely sick that we're losing our reputation, but there's such an enormous breath of fresh air - and it's real air - and we're going to get it right."

Since August, Pick n Pay retrenched about 400 senior and middle managers at its Cape Town and Johannesburg head offices.

Brasher says while the company's latest financial results indicate an improvement, he is determined to do even more get the business where it used to be.

He has made sweeping changes over the past six months to assist the company to regain its market share and says the financial results are encouraging after a difficult couple of years.

"We are better than we were six months ago. We've got more customers," he says, but adds that the company is still far from where it should be.

"We're encouraged by the improvement, but we're far from satisfied."

As part of the new measures, the CEO is adamant staff have to be at work early and leave late.