Review: Rise of the SUPER store: Pick ‘n Pay vs Woolworths Food

A new global trend has surfaced in the Western Cape: the premier super store – not only a large supermarket, but a massive one-stop market-like shopping space which tops any regular supermarket (as we know it in South Africa) by far.

Last week, I attended the launch of two new premier super stores: Pick ‘n Pay in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront, and Woolworths Food (“concept store”) at the Waterstone Village in Somerset West. If you’ve never visited these stores before, brace yourself (and your wallet) because you’ll be lost in a world of retail bliss.  Joburg shoppers should have already experienced a taste of the super store trend at the Pick ‘n Pay on Nicol.

Here are some of the super store features at a glance:

1) Pick ‘n Pay V&A Waterfront, Cape Town:

  • store size: 4300 m2
  • parking: on the same level, 90 minutes free to Pick ‘n Pay customers (spend R150 to qualify)
  • 12 professional chefs on hand (advising you on the best cuts of meat or how to cook your seafood)
  • qualified sommeliers on standby at the wine section
  • new ranges, like the free range duck meat/eggs/fat
  • large range of coffees, teas & coffee machines, also to be enjoyed freshly made as take-aways (including a tasting area)
  • inhouse gelato with flavours like green apple and turkish delight
  • an extensive deli market featuring freshly made sandwiches, hot food and salads
  • a large dedicated cheese section featuring a vast range of imported cheese as well as local cheeses
  • micro herbs, exotic mushrooms and an extended fresh organic produce range
  • large inhouse bakery (also baking “counts”, apparantly the new SA favourite)
  • world-class butchery stocked with 21-day aged beef, Japanese Kobe-styled beef, dry aged and free range beef, free-range pork, free-range poultry, veal and lamb, as well as plenty of biltong
  • seafood section with sustainably farmed kabeljou and freshly caught salmon, just to name a few
  • inhouse freshly-made sushi section, boasting 6 highly trained sushi chefs
  • 800 wine lines from 200 brands and over 150 wine estates
  • 100 different MCC’s, sparkling wines and French Champagne
  • clothing section
  • beauty section
  • glassware, cookware, cookbooks, flowers, gifts, festive treats & decorations and much more.
  • open from 08h00-22h00, Monday to Saturday, 09h00-22h00 on Sundays
  • Contact: 021-417 1900


2) Woolworths Food, Waterstone Village, Somerset West:

  •  store size: 2500 m2 (six times the size of the previous Woolworths Food in the centre, and the biggest WW Food Market yet in SA)
  • a fully comprehensive range of Woolworth’s own product ranges, including more ranges than ever before
  • much bigger fresh produce area with an interactive fresh market feeling, focusing on seasonal produce
  • interactive coffee bar where customers can taste coffee and have their beans ground to their specification
  • an olive oil & balsamic vinegar tasting station
  • a “freshly squeezed” station for squeezed-on-the-spot juices and smoothies
  • a butchery where highly skilled butchers will debone, roll, stuff, marinate, spice, slice, cube, vacuum pack and advise
  • a fishmonger where experts will cut, skin and fillet your choice, and advise on how to cook it
  • an extensive cheese counter fillet with local and imported award-winning cheeses
  • instore bakery offering artisanal breads and pastries
  • various take-away options with hot food counters, ready-to-go sandwiches, wraps & snacks
  • a dedicated sushi bar
  • W Café where you can sit down for 100% Fairtrade coffee and freshly made food
  • “green” design elements, such as using natural light from skylights, fridges running on natural gass, etc.
  • 19 tills (including 5 express tills) and more managers and staff on duty throughout the store
  • open from 08h00-21h00, 7 days a week including public holidays
  • Contact: 021-850 7911


Both stores have the “one queue” system at their till points: a system of one large queue instead of several smaller ones, where the shoppers at the front of the queue are diverted to the next available cashier – a fair and relatively fast-moving way of checking out.

It seems that the large retailers like Pick ‘n Pay and Woolworths are giving their customers what they want: innovation, bigger variety, a high quality interactive one-stop shopping experience, and a visually stimulating shopping environment. For someone like me who spends many hours per week shopping for ingredients and fresh produce, these stores make me very excited about the future of retail in South Africa.

I look forward to seeing more of these stores in many more locations countrywide.

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  1. Lovely review Ilse. I liked the quick, snappy points. I was sorry to miss the Waterstone launch but there is only so many times I can run away without being noticed. Was lovely to see you at PnP all be it far too brief! xx

    1. Thanks Tami! Yes, we certainly need to make time to sit and talk next time – this time of year is just a mad rush. Maybe early in 2014? Would be lovely! x

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