SOUTH Africa’s renowned retail brand, Spar, has returned to Malawi after it exited the country a few years ago following an unsuccessful stint on the  local market.

This time around, however, the franchise has partnered Malawi’s largest chain store, People’s Trading Centre (PTC) in a deal that is likely to take the Malawi retail market by storm.

On Friday, the first Spar-branded shop under  the partnership with PTC opened its doors in Lilongwe during a grand ceremony which was presided over by the country’s Vice President Saulos Chilima.

In his remarks, Chilima urged the company to maintain the standards it is renowned for internationally and accord Malawians a world-class shopping experience associated with the brand.

He hailed PTC for partnering with Spar and for its continued role in  Malawi which, he said, was  helping in jobs and creating opportunities for farmers and other enterprises through its chain of stores that cover the whole country.

“PTC is a big buyer of local products and supports many local manufacturing companies,” observed Chilima.

He, however, committed government support to the PTC-Spar partnership and to other businesses to ensure that they thrive.

He said the Public Service Reform Programme which he chairs is aimed at creating a vibrant and efficient civil service that can meaningfully serve the business community and ease the doing business environment in Malawi.

On his part, Press Corporation Limited (PCL) Group Chief Executive Officer, Matthews Chikaonda, whose company wholly owns PTC, said the Spar brand will succeed in Malawi this time because of the partnership with PTC.

He, however, appealed to the government to assist the franchise with the issues of temporary employment permits, saying proper management of the brand will need foreign expertise. “The city centre shop alone has 86 employees and this is bigger than what most of the companies employ in this country. But we need a lot of government support to replicate this through things like temporary employment permits,” said Chikaonda

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