Pick 'n Pay has to write off Zimbabwe investment

Introducing what he described as "a solid, solid result", Raymond Ackerman, the chairman of Pick 'n Pay, said yesterday that his company had taken a knock in Zimbabwe. A R23million profit last year had turned into a write-off this year.

Introducing what he described as "a solid, solid result", Raymond Ackerman, the chairman of Pick 'n Pay, said yesterday that his company had taken a knock in Zimbabwe. A R23million profit last year had turned into a write-off this year.

He said that although his company's stores were still running extremely well there, on the advice of his auditors Pick 'n Pay had decided to write the operation off, in common with other stores.

The investment had been written down to zero and no income was calculated as coming from there.

The group's interim results for the half year to the end of August show that overall the group's turnover increased 16,9percent to R21,76billion.

While Ackerman and his chief executive Nick Badminton spoke happily of the company's achievements and its promise for the future, they had to admit that the hypermarkets had had a challenging six months, thanks to the start-up costs of four new stores. "We all knew it would be a big task to open four," Ackerman said. "But two of them are already breaking even."

Two other major costs have been affecting the company's balance sheet. They are the conversion to the SAP system of accounting, and the development of the distribution centre at Longmeadow in KwaZulu-Natal.

SAP is now fully rolled out in the Western Cape for both corporate stores and franchises.

The Longmeadow centre has been operating since August and the dry grocery warehouse is delivering 6percent of grocery sales to 230 stores. - I-Net Bridge

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