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Africa Outlook

Retail
South Africa
CSR
Home of Living Brands

HOME OF LIVING BRANDS

Spearheading South Africa’s Retail Transformation

Home of Living Brands is empowering the population as the country’s number one distributor of consumer goods 

Writer: Jonathan Dyble

Project Manager: Lewis Bush

In 1971, the South African government gave permission to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to launch the country’s first ever national television service.

Coming just seven years after Dr Albert Hertzog, South Africa’s former Minister of Posts and Telegraphs, reiterated the government’s rejection of television services across the country on 7 March 1964, this policy change paved the way for a wave of innovation to sweep across the country.

One company at the forefront of this national transformation, providing families everywhere with their very first television sets, was Home of Living Brands.

Named as just one of six companies licensed to manufacture Sony televisions in South Africa in 1974, Home of Living Brands played a key role in setting the stage for the SABC’s service rollout in 1976.

Excelling from this platform, Home of Living Brands has since diversified continuously, coming to the forefront of the consumer goods industry in the modern era under The Bidvest Group’s vast umbrella.

“Fast forward to today, we’ve closed our television business, acquired incredible small appliances brands such as Russell Hobbs, Salton, Pineware, Aerial King, Digitech and more, and been awarded the right to distribute top international brands such as Hoover, Jamie Oliver, Melitta, amongst several others,” says Marion Stander, Marketing Director at Home of Living Brands.

“We’ve been known by several names, from Amalgamated Appliances to Tedelex, and now, we’re proudly known as Home of Living Brands, the number one distributor of branded consumer goods in South Africa.”

A vision of success

Celebrating its one hundredth birthday in 2020, Home of Living Brands is hoping to continue to enjoy grand success across South Africa and the wider Sub-Saharan region in the coming years through the pursuit of its simple but effective vision – to be the first choice in branded consumer goods.

The Company offers a broad range of products across the kitchen, homeware and electronics markets within the wholesale and retail sectors. 

Built from its open minded-approach to new opportunities, it is Home of Living Brands’ work with internal and external partners that has facilitated this growth and its entry in to new markets.

“We’ve worked hard over the years to secure and build the brands that we represent, and to ensure that our distribution channels allow those brands to flourish within our markets,” says Stander. 

“We’ve also completed acquisitions to ensure we continue to grow our consumer offerings, and have expanded our work with strategic partners with whom we find common ground and alignment with our vision in providing consumer satisfaction, be they service providers or distribution principals.”

This outlook is further reflected in its selection of supply chain partners that operate a key function of the business, built on transparency and consistency.

“Efficiency, both in cost and in time, is crucial to us, as is effectiveness,” Stander adds. “We’ve partnered with leading providers such as Savino Del Bene to give us end to end visibility of our supply chain, working with top international suppliers who are reputable, ethical and aligned with our vision, mission and values.”

Alongside the Company’s keen eye for global trends, this strategy has ensured that Home of Living Brands has continued to flourish, now offering more than 8,000 different products across South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands.

Adjusting to the curve

As Home of Living Brands has quickly evolved, so too has the wider consumer goods industry.

Hundreds of new products are coming to the market by the day, driven by continual advancements in the latest technologies such as the internet of things (IoT) and smart solutions.

Whilst Home of Living Brands is readily equipped to spearhead this retail transformation across South Africa, the Company has had to adapt and account for certain geographical inconsistencies when monitoring global consumer trends.

Stander reveals: “The trend towards IoT, smart homes, digitisation, and the changing way in which we consume information and data is one that we’re watching closely.

“However, whilst the benefits of these technologies are significant, we are incredibly careful not to be too far ahead of the curve. We’ve found in the past that what works in America and Europe may not work in our domestic market as our consumers aren’t ready for it, although the gap is getting notably smaller.”

One way that Home of Living Brands is bolstering its position when it comes to absorbing new trends and technologies is through its emphasis on staff management.

“We invest in our staff through training initiatives which encompass our employment learnership programmes, focused on management expertise to enable growth and succession planning,” Stander explains.

Such is evident in the Company’s Advanced Education Training programme that encourages Home of Living Brands employees to complete their diplomas, degrees and short courses, whilst its Living Talent agenda looks to address any internal skills gaps that exist within the firm.

“The Company considers the end to end life cycle of our employees,” Stander adds. “We look for talent in the market that is driven, through forward thinking innovations, that will continue to enable us to be the market leader in our categories.

“We often use the phrase ‘the world is your oyster at Home of Living Brands’.”

A progressive outlook

This forward thinking is further reflected in the Company’s extensive corporate social responsibility practices. 

One such example is the donation of 500 NUTRIWELL boxes to disadvantaged communities, NUTRIWELL being a nutritional food company that has been established to provide affordable, convenient and nutritional food products whilst combatting malnutrition and other chronic illnesses.

Further, Home of Living Brands has also donated appliances and stock to both Food for Life, an initiative that aims to eradicate hunger across South Africa, and Grow Your Life, an institution that aims to offer assistance and welfare to the greater South African community.

“All things combined, Home of Living Brand’s vast array of top brands, rigorous product quality standards, focus on building partnerships, ethical approach and dedication and commitment to our staff overall gives us an edge that makes a real difference,” Stander concludes.

“Moving forward, we would like to be able to look back on Home of Living Brands as having continued to go from strength to strength following a successful IT architecture and operating model overhaul, increasing our footprint outside of South Africa and playing our part in enhancing the economic position of the countries in which we operate.”