This rate of store expansion could be accelerated as opportunities become available, says Clicks managing executive Vikash Singh, pointing out that the retailer is committed to investing and growing the South African economy.
According to the company, each new store creates around 20 in-store employment opportunities as well as five additional employment opportunities for support staff.
The opening of Clicks' 800th store comes despite the challenges posed by the July 2021 unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng which saw some of its stores and distribution centres impacted, and the fourth wave of Covid-19 pandemic which commenced in late 2021. Singh says a return to a semblance of normality in terms of shopping and spending behaviours augers well for the continued growth of the retailer.
Clicks states that the primary driver of its success is predicated on a "proud heritage as a value retailer, a tradition of customer care and convenience". The latter is reflected in a growing footprint of stores to ensure customers are easily able to access Clicks' range of health and beauty products.
Clicks' ultimate aim is for the majority of households in South Africa to be situated within a 5km radius of a Clicks store, with each store tailored to the needs of the community it serves.
"Not only does our expanded footprint mean that 50% of the population are now within easy proximity to a Clicks store and therefore able to access affordable healthcare, but our growing number of stores also creates new job opportunities," says Singh.
The Clicks ClubCard rewards programme, which now has close to 9.5 million members, also helps to drive growth through easily redeemable benefits, he adds.
While the retailer's online offering saw significant growth during the various waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, customers have reverted to brick and mortar stores, reveals Singh. The exception to this trend is its dedicated baby stores where hardware baby products such as prams, cots and car seats are primarily sold online.
"Clicks has a 20% share of the baby market. Our three dedicated baby stores at Mall of Africa, Canal Walk and Gateway are a one-stop destination for baby essentials, offering a wider range of baby products than is found at a traditional Clicks store. In line with global trends, hardware baby products are typically purchased online with baby stores acting as showrooms," Singh says.
Operating in South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, Clicks currently employs 16,550 people across its 800 stores which includes 650 pharmacies and 195 Clicks Clinics.