Of the three major food retailers listed on the JSE, Spar offers something compellingly different from its larger peers, Shoprite and Pick n Pay. Spar acts primarily as a wholesaler and distributor of goods and services to the independent stores that operate under its brand, rather than as a corporate retailer. (It does currently manage a handful of stores itself, but this is likely to be a temporary measure.)

“Spar differs from other food retailers in that it’s virtually 100% franchised,” says Coronation Portfolio Manager Quinton Ivan. “Stores are operated by entrepreneurs. These are owner-managers whose livelihoods depend on running a profitable store and as a result these stores are run more efficiently than corporate stores.”

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