E-commerce giant Kalahari to close within a month

2015-04-20 09:15 - Gareth van Zyl
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Johannesburg - E-commerce in South Africa is set for a major change as the discontinuation of the kalahari.com brand and website is set to happen within a month.

The Kalahari brand and website will be folded into takealot.com within a month, according to an announcement from the online retailers.

“The Kalahari website will close within the next month. We will keep our customers informed in advance,” reads an answer to a frequently asked question section on the takealot website.

The takealot website further says that on April 20 it will be “delisting all products that have a supplier lead time from the Kalahari website”.

The takealot website further says that pre-orders due to be delivered before May 31 2015 will be delivered by kalahari.com. Meanwhile, pre-orders on the Kalahari website due to be delivered after May 31 2015 will be delivered by takealot.com.     

Selected Kalahari accounts are also planned to be moved over to takealot.com automatically so that customers can track their orders. The takealot website explains how users can migrate their accounts.

The move to fold Kalahari into takealot comes after the Competition Commission (CompCom) earlier this year approved a merger deal between the two e-commerce companies.

The folding of Kalahari into takealot is intended to boost the merged unit’s scale and supply in South Africa.  

CompCom approved the deal on condition that no more than 200 jobs be cut. Fin24 understands that some Kalahari staff have been absorbed into takealot while others have found new jobs. 

In January, takealot CEO Kim Reid told Fin24 that US investment firm Tiger Global Management will have an approximate 41% stake in the merged businesses. Media company Naspers will have an equal stake to that of Tiger Global Management.

Meanwhile, management and shareholders will own the remaining stake of the merged unit, Reid said.

Reid will remain co-CEO of takealot along with co-CEO Willem van Biljon.

End of an e-commerce era

The Kalahari brand was launched in South Africa in 1998 with the web address Kalahari.net.

The website quickly became a popular online destination for South Africans looking to buy books, music and VHS titles.

By 2005, Kalahari’s product categories were expanded to include flowers, travel, event tickets, games and electronics.

In 2011, kalahari.net changed its web domain to kalahari.com and in 2014 Kalahari unveiled a new logo.

According to data from Effective Measure, kalahari.com was South Africa’s biggest e-commerce website in December 2014 with 2 277 636 visitors to the site. Meanwhile, takealot.com had 1 737 672 visitors in December 2014, according to Effective Measure.

Read more about: takealot.com  |  kalahari  |  e-commerce

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