S.Africa’s Woolworths steps up battle for affluent shoppers with Absolute Pets deal

A shopper walks past the Woolworths store at the Trade Route Mall in Lenasia outside Johannesburg, South Africa, February 8, 2023. REUTERS/Siphiwe/File Photo

A turf battle for the nation’s affluent customers has intensified as South African fashion and food retailer Woolworths (WHLJ.J.) announced on Tuesday that it will purchase a 93.45% share in pet care store Absolute Pets from Sanlam Private Equity and Absolute’s management.

Following the transaction’s completion, Woolworths will buy the remaining management-retained shares over a certain period, according to the retailer. The undisclosed acquisition price will be paid in cash.

“The pet care industry is appealing and expanding quickly, with significant room for expansion. According to Woolworths, the sector is becoming increasingly substantial for its consumers, who view their dogs as essential members of their families.

The rival Shoprite-owned (SHPJ.J.) Checkers, which has established 67 upscale pet stores since 2021, and the Cape Town-based company are facing off.

Woolworths was already increasing the selection of upscale food, bedding, and grooming supplies in their pet supply departments.

The store stated that the purchase would expedite the group’s pet strategy and position it as the “end-to-end destination of choice” for pet care.

Since its founding in 2005, Absolute Pets has become the top specialty pet care retailer in South Africa, operating over 150 locations nationwide in addition to online stores, pet spas, and pet services.

According to the companies, the present management group and CEO of Absolute Pets, Stephen Warner, will run the company under the Absolute Pets name.


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