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IGA enters its fifth continent with seven-store launch in South Africa.

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 22, 1996--

New Store Format Changes the Face of the

South African Food Industry

IGA Inc., the only multinational supermarket group based in the United States, today announced the grand opening of seven stores in South Africa. The retailer plans to open more than 200 stores there within the next five years, with estimated annual retail sales topping US $428 million.

"IGA brings superior convenience, a warehouse of food knowledge and an unsurpassed focus on quality and customer service to the residents of South Africa," said IGA Chairman and CEO Thomas S. Haggai.

With these seven stores, located in a mix of city and rural communities, IGA is introducing a new merchandising format to the South African marketplace. The independently owned IGA stores feature more fresh, frozen and prepared foods than the other leading supermarket chains in South Africa. In fact, two-thirds of the selling space in IGA stores is dedicated to these perishable items, nearly one-third more than Pick 'n Pay, Checkers/Shoprite and other competitors.

"With an abundance of perishable products not routinely found in the South African supermarket, from prepared chicken and refrigerated baked goods to convenience meals and fresh flowers, IGA's South African stores are poised to satisfy consumer demands and to become profitable businesses," Haggai added.

The ongoing modernization of South Africa's infrastructure is spurring demand for perishables, which typically contain higher profit margins than packaged goods. With the mass introduction of electricity to South Africa's rural areas, shoppers can now preserve food longer through refrigeration, which has led to a rapidly expanding market for fresh and frozen products.

IGA is also changing the face of food distribution in South Africa.

Metcash Trading Limited, Johannesburg, IGA's distribution partner in South Africa, is implementing a new central distribution system in order to maximize efficiencies. The average South African supermarket receives separate deliveries from up to 30 manufacturers each day. IGA stores will receive only one or two deliveries each day from a central distribution center which offers more than 5,500 items.

"IGA is committed to becoming an integral part of the growing South African economy," said Haggai. "We are thrilled to bring our Hometown Proud philosophy and commitment to community to South Africa. What's more, IGA's Retail Development Program will allow employees to develop modern supermarket skills."

IGA's employee training programs have been key to its international success during the past decade.

In South Africa, that trend will continue with the March 1997 launch of the IGA Retail Development Program. South African employees from each IGA store can learn about all aspects of the supermarket industry, from customer service to effective merchandising techniques. Over the long term, IGA plans to enhance the program through accreditation from area colleges and universities.

IGA Inc. posts aggregate sales of more than $16.8 billion annually. Through its global alliance of 3,600 supermarkets in 23 countries, commonwealths and territories, it ranks sixth in the world and third in North America in supermarket-related sales.

CONTACT: Edelman Public Relations Worldwide, Chicago

Stacey Brown, 312/240-2719

Julie Ketay, 312/240-2711
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Nov 22, 1996
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