Pick n Pay has unveiled a comprehensive restructuring plan aimed at rejuvenating its core grocery store brand in response to a staggering 97.5% decline in trading profit. The South African retailer, facing its most significant profit setback in recent history, has appointed a group executive team and created a new retail division to navigate the path to recovery.

CEO Sean Summers, who assumed the role just a month after the disheartening financial report, emphasized the necessity of the restructuring in a statement. He acknowledged the challenges that Pick n Pay had been grappling with for the past 10-15 years, describing the changes as the “most profound event” in the company’s history.

Summers, however, remained optimistic about the future, stating that the restructuring was a crucial step to return Pick n Pay supermarkets to growth. He outlined a realistic approach, acknowledging that the changes would take time and cautioning that there might be a temporary worsening of the situation before improvement.

Speaking to Media, Summers assured that retrenchments were not on the horizon, emphasizing a commitment to formulating a new strategy for the sustainable future of the group within the next three to four months.

The immediate structural adjustments at Pick n Pay will focus on enhancing customer experience, buying efficiency, store execution, and overall store estate management. The new structure addresses the challenges arising from the significant increase in the number of stores over the past 16 years, coupled with a relatively unchanged operating infrastructure.

To lead the transformation, Pick n Pay announced a group executive team, including three women: CFO Lerena Olivier, Chief People Officer Thembi Mbengashe, and Managing Executive for Clothing Hazel Pillay. Dallas Langman, with 34 years of experience within the group, was appointed as Managing Executive of the new Pick n Pay Retail Division. Langman, previously Managing Executive of the Rest of Africa division, is known for his ability to drive operational standards and team performance.

The restructuring also involves streamlining reporting lines to facilitate effective leadership, with highly experienced retailers reporting directly to Summers in six focused areas. The Pick n Pay Retail division will prioritize the core retail business, aiming to provide customers with a seamless experience across all stores.

Additionally, a Commercial division will be established under Pick n Pay Retail, led by seasoned experts focusing on buying across Food, Fresh, and General Merchandise. Thembi Mbengashe will head HR for Retail, working with Summers on succession planning and transformation objectives.

Five regional heads and a head of Retail Hypermarkets have been appointed to strengthen customer engagement and operational efficiency.

Summers concluded, “The new structure will enable clarity of leadership across our business, with seasoned professionals in charge.” While acknowledging that the recovery might take time, the ambitious restructuring plan aims to position Pick n Pay for sustained growth in the coming years.