South African investment company Pepkor will enter the Hungarian market with its Pepco retail chain of discount stores at eight locations: Budapest, Tatabánya, Veszprém, Siófok,
Eger, Miskolc, Debrecen and Nyíregyháza.
Job advertisements seeking shop directors and deputy directors had a deadline of February 22, suggesting the plans are well under way. The job ad mentions after a short description and history of the company that “Pepco will continue its intensive expansion on the Hungarian market in 2015”. It refers to the website of the Polish Pepco company for more information about the chain.
The Budapest Times asked Pepkor why it is coming to Hungary right now, when the plaza-stop and Sunday closing have been introduced, what goals they would like to achieve in Hungary and what is their general attitude to the national economy, but the questions had not been answered by press time.
Pepkor has been operating in the retail industry since 1965. The Polish Pepco website says they have operations in Europe, Africa and Australia through eight retail chains (for example PEP, Ackermans, Best & Less, Dunns, Shoes City) selling predominantly clothes, household utensils and shoes in a total of 3000 stores.
Pepkor Holding is owned by South African investor and businessman Christoffel Hendrik Wiese, who in January this year had an estimated value of USD 5.4 billion according to Forbes magazine, making him the fifth-richest person on the African continent.
Focusing on Central and Eastern Europe
The Pepco discount chain was founded in 2004 and is among the fastest growing retailing chains in Central and Eastern Europe, according to the job ad, with over 500 stores and 4000 employees in Poland, which has been its largest market. Expansion began in 2013 into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, where they have opened 50 stores so far, followed by entry into the Romanian market last September.
According to their own description of their business model they focus on giving discounts for cash payments on clothing and household goods primarily to the lower middle class in small to medium cities in Poland.
Data contained in the company database ceginfo.hu says a Pepco Kft. was registered as a company in June 2004 with a base in Budapest’s District X and a turnover of HUF 14.7 million in 2013, and Pepkor Hungary Kft. was founded in July 2014 with a base in District XIII and HUF 3 million capital stock.