/ 20 January 2023

In brief: The week in business

Microsoft Getty
Global tech giant, Microsoft, is reportedly set to cut 5% of its workforce. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Pick n Pay stocks over 300 plant-based products

Grocery retailer Pick n Pay said this week it had doubled the number of plant-based products it stocks over the past two years, and sales continue to grow year-on-year, with newness driving this growth among local customers. 

“Veganism is a growing trend as customers increasingly become more health-conscious and environmentally aware. Locally, movements such as Veganuary — which Pick n Pay is once again part of — continue to drive awareness about plant-based diets,” the grocer said. 

Veganuary is an annual challenge that promotes and educates about veganism by encouraging people to follow a vegan lifestyle for the month of January. Nicki Russell the head of product & technical at Pick n Pay said that the vegan movement is a fast-growing space in local retail. 

“Global warming and climate change are a big concern for our customers. The health of our planet has become the leading global concern and this is very much intertwined with the plant-based trend”. 

The grocer said it now stocks over 300 plant-based products and has introduced 150 new products over the past 24 months. The products range across grocery, frozen and non-edible categories such as household, beauty and toiletries. Some of the best-selling products include plant-based milks and yoghurt, plant-based butter, ready meals, dairy-free frozen dessert, and tofu and feta ranges. Pick n Pay said its customer research has shown that more customers are opting for a “flexitarian” diet and choosing to have more plant-based meals during the week. 

“This is fuelling the growth of the category as customers become more willing to try different alternatives,” says Russell.

Microsoft shedding jobs 

Global tech giant, Microsoft, is reportedly set to cut 5% of its workforce. This will leave approximately 10 000 people unemployed. Microsoft employs more than 220 000 people globally. The tech company will take a R20 billion charge in the second fiscal quarter related to the move, which will shave 12 cents off of earnings per share. Microsoft said it’s seeing customers exercise caution, with some parts of the world in recession and others heading towards one, and this was the reason for the layoffs. This comes after Facebook’s parent company, Meta, announced widespread job cuts in November. Social media network Twitter Inc. owned by Elon Musk has also cut about half of its workforce.

Retail trade sales rise, Black Friday muted

Retail trade sales rose 0.4% year-on-year in November, with a month-on-month bounce of 1.1%, Statistics South Africa data showed this week. This was the first annual increase since August, when retail trade sales grew 2.1% year-on-year. Positive annual growth rates were recorded for retailers in household furniture, appliances and equipment which grew by 6%;  retailers in textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods (5.9%); all ‘other’ retailers (2.3%); and general dealers (0.1%). Economists at Nedbank economists missed the mark, as they had forecast 2.5% year-on-year increase in November after two months of contractions. “Sales are likely to have received a significant boost from the Black Friday deals,” the bank predicted ahead of the data release