Raymond Ackerman, the founder of South African grocery retailer Pick n Pay, has died aged 92.
Ackerman, who started the company with just four stores in 1967, turned it into one of the country’s leading supermarkets. He retired in 2010, handing the chairman’s reins to his son Gareth.
Ackerman was a pioneer in the South African retail industry, introducing the hypermarket concept to the country. He was also known for his campaigns against monopolies and price-fixing.
“He was an enduring optimist about South Africa’s future, and his passing leaves a great void for us all,” said Pick n Pay in a statement.
Ackerman was born into a retailing family. His father, Gus, founded the Ackermans clothing group after World War I. Ackerman started his career in retail at Greatermans, which later sold the Ackermans retail group to competitor Checkers.
After leaving Greatermans, Ackerman bought four small stores in Cape Town trading under the name Pick ‘n Pay. The company grew rapidly, and by the time Ackerman retired, it had 20 hypermarkets and 402 supermarkets across South Africa.
Today, Pick n Pay generates 106 billion rand in annual turnover and owns more than 2,000 stores across South Africa and seven other African countries.
Ackerman was a recipient of the Order of the Baobab, South Africa’s highest civilian honor. He was also a member of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.
He is survived by his wife Wendy and four children.
A memorial service will be held in Cape Town on Saturday.