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Aids's impact on customer base

Posted On Saturday, 28 July 2001 03:01 Published by
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South Africa's HIV-Aids problem is forcing retailers to restructure their business and expand into new markets because their customer base is dying.

South Africa's HIV-Aids problem is forcing retailers to restructure their business and expand into new markets because their customer base is dying.

Retailers targeting lower-income and emerging market consumers are most at risk in the face of increasing Aids deaths, which will cut population forecasts to 47 million by 2010 instead of the 51 million projected.

Leading the fightback is the JD Group, reducing its risk profile by shifting business away from areas of high HIV-Aids prevalence. In the process, it plans to lose 5% of its store-base of 700 stores. The group's strategy is based on a study commissioned two years ago.

Among the projected effects on the group were a decreasing customer base after 2010 and a significant shift in the customer base age profile.

Stephen Kramer, head of Metropolitan Life's Aids research unit, says the retail sector will be variously affected, he says, depending upon target market and geographic area, with the Northern Province and KwaZulu-Natal worst off.

Among other large retailers in the HIV-Aids firing line, according to the JD Group study, are Pick 'n Pay and Shoprite Checkers. The latter's deputy managing director, Carel Goosen, says the expected gap in the consumer market is likely to be filled by those previously unemployed.


Publisher: Sunday Times
Source: Bobby Jordan
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