• Botswana-based retailer Choppies reported half-year results on Thursday that showed its sales in South Africa are now just 7.5% shy of those in its home country.
  • Choppies in South Africa turned a profit for the first time thanks to a R24.7 million turnaround in its fortunes.
  • The jokes has long been that Choppies is coming for the retail giant Shoprite. It's not that funny anymore now that it has shown how fast it can grow – profitably.

Botswana retailer Choppies now has more stores in South Africa than in its home country, and is very nearly selling as much merchandise in each country.

In the last six months of 2017 its now 88 stores in SA sold 2.13 billion pula (around R2.7 billion) worth of stock, results released on Thursday showed. That is just 7.5% short of the turnover from its 85 stores in Botswana.

Choppies South Africa also reported a small profit (R3.8 million) for the first time.

The South African numbers show a 42.4% year-on-year increase in turnover – while the chain kept costs in check.

See also: There is nothing wrong with aspiring to work at Shoprite, finds a new ruling

Most of the Choppies stores are in the north of South Africa, but the group has plans to expand in the east as well as in other neighbouring countries.

Investors joke that the chain is coming for Shoprite, the biggest retailer in Africa.

Such ambitions are still somewhat ludicrous considering the two chains' respective sizes; there are 681 stores just under the Checkers and Shoprite brands in Africa. But its ability to grow rapidly in SA while making a profit its making the joke slightly less funny.

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