Food retailers merge

2010-09-15 00:00

TWO major fresh produce retailing brands, Everfresh and Fruit & Veg City, have joined forces in Kwazulu-Natal.

The alliance introduces a new premium food retailing brand called Food Lover’s Market.

The companies said that although the Everfresh stores will now trade under the Food Lover’s Market banner, the new franchisees will each remain owners of their stores and staff and management of Everfresh will keep their positions in the company.

The alliance was officially established at the beginning of this month. It promises to give consumers an “enhanced retail experience”.

Brian Coppin, CEO and co-founder of Fruit & Veg City, told The Witness yesterday that they plan to open three or four new stores in the province over the next six months.

There are 17 stores either branded Fruit & Veg City or Food Lover’s Market.

Coppin says the move has been on the cards for several years, adding that the two brands are not strangers to each other.

“I have always been a great fan of Everfresh. We have been friends for a while,” he says.

“This is something that has been discussed for a number of years. We have at some point in the past either supplied them or bought together.”

He says the alliance will benefit from improved economies of scale.

Fruit & Veg City has 110 outlets nationwide.

Food Lover’s Market has been described as an upmarket retailer, boasting fresh produce, a butchery, deli and bakery. It will operate in a highly competitive space occupied by giant retailers such as Woolworths and Shoprite/Checkers.

Coppin said the focus will be on their strength — providing the freshest produce through their “speed-to-market” operation.

Said Jose Luizinho, CEO of Everfresh, “There are so many great synergies between ourselves and Fruit & Veg City.”

Everfresh recently opened a store in Victoria Centre, Pietermaritzburg.

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