Wooltru First SA Retailer to Join Global E-Marketplace

[Johannesburg, SOUTH AFRICA] Retail group Wooltru announced on Friday that it has become the first South African company to join the WorldWide Retail Exchange, a global e-commerce marketplace for retailers operating over the Internet.

This announcement, made last week by Wooltru Executive Chairman Colin Hall, will result in
Wooltru entering the exchange as a charter member, a position which will entitle the group to
participate in the governance and development of the exchange.
Wooltru is the dominant South African retail brand with a shareholding in a number of
top-performing brands including Woolworths, CNA, Game, Makro and Truworths.

This announcement boosts the governing group of the WorldWide Retail Exchange to 32
members, including seventeen founding organizations with combined sales in excess of
$537 billion.
This group includes a number of high-profile international retailers including the Dixons Group
and Marks and Spencer from the U.K., Gap Inc., KMart Corporation and Safeway Inc. from the U.S.,
Japan’s Jusco, France’s Auchan and Germany’s Edeka.

Wooltru is one of two new additions to the marketplace, with the U.K.-based
pharmaceutical retailers Boots being the other company to align themselves with the
electronic exchange.
With Boots reporting total revenues of $7,8-billion and with Wooltru’s 1999 sales
amounting to over $2-billion, the marketplace has attracted two formidable global
players.
Wooltru operates over 1,200 retail stores throughout Africa, Asia, North America and
Australia.

The South African enterprise will harness the skills of Affinity Logic, its e-commerce
joint venture with technology company Datatec, to develop a program to ready its
existing retail subsidiaries for integratation with the global exchange.
By joining this electronic exchange, Wooltru expects to improve operating efficiencies
and receive exposure to complementary businesses, thereby boosting current revenue
levels.

Affinity Logic CEO Richard van Rensburg reveals a further agenda of this partnership.
“Our participation in the WorldWide Exchange as a charter member will enable us to
influence development priorities of the Exchange to cater for the needs of South
African retailers and suppliers,” he says.
He discloses that the group will use its position of influence to create opportunities for
local retailers to participate in the electronic marketplace, providing exposure to a wider
global market and supplier base.

Colin Hall dismisses notions that partnering with the WorldWide Exchange will limit
the company’s ability to form similar alliances with other potential partners.
“Participation does not limit our businesses from trading on any other local or global
exchange,” he argues, “Rather, it gives us more options.”
He cites the potential for collaboration with other global retail leaders as one way in
which his group will be able to tap into trends and expertise in order to improve his
company’s service offering.

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