Strategic agenda

Our strategic agenda included four areas. The first being to maintain the momentum of improving the Groupís operating disciplines and implementing planned improvements in Supply Chain, Private Label and Financial Services.

Our second priority has been to complete the Walmart transaction and we await the conclusion of the next steps in the process being the rulings of the South African Competition Appeal Court and the Namibian Minister of Trade and Industry respectively. We are applying the appropriate resources to ensure that we comply with the conditions in the Competition Tribunal merger approval.

Our third priority has been to commence the integration of Massmart into Walmart. As one would expect in these endeavours, however, two things become apparent: the impact of upfront costs and investments, and that accurately measuring the resultant value can be difficult. Despite these challenges, we are encouraged that these endeavours will ultimately benefit the Group, our staff and our customers in the years ahead. We have made good progress on Governance, Culture and Values.

Our final priority has been to continue to act as a good corporate citizen and so we continue to invest in our three accountability themes: to enable sustainable supply and consumerism; to minimise the Groupís environmental footprint; and to champion social equality initiatives.

We have sought out opportunities to work with Government in areas where we can leverage our Group capabilities to mutual benefit. This has resulted in a multitude of partnerships. We are improving the quality of goods in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry through SABS. We are working with the Department of Finance through SARS to assist with understanding and enabling efficient procurement. We are working with the Department of Agriculture exploring ways to support small emerging farmers with the end-objective of integrating them into the Massmart supply chain. We are working with local suppliers to assist them in taking advantage of opportunities to export locally manufactured goods to Walmartís global operations.

We are working with the Department of Safety and Security focusing on supporting orphans of policemen and women killed in the line of duty, but also responding to broader SAPS requests for assistance. We are working alongside the Department of Basic Education helping them to meet infrastructural needs associated with their school-feeding programme. We continue working with the Department of Defense, providing Christmas food hampers to the families of soldiers on peace-keeping operations in foreign countries.