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Raymond Ackerman, founder of South African grocer Pick n Pay, dies at 92

Raymond Ackerman, the founder of giant South African retail outlet, Pick n Pay, has passed away. He was 92.

Ackerman founded Pick n Pay in Cape Town in 1967 and watched it become one of the biggest retail outlets on the continent.

The retail group announced his death on Thursday morning.

“With profound sadness we announce that Pick n Pay founder Raymond Ackerman has passed away. A visionary entrepreneur, humanitarian and a great South African. Our country has lost a brilliant patriot who always saw a positive future for South Africa,” the statement read.

The official cause of his death was not revealed.

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Ackerman is considered retail royalty, with his father, Gus, being the founder of the Ackermans clothing group. He started his career at Greatermans, to which Ackermans had been sold.

It was at Greatermans that he decided to launch his own retail outlet, after overseeing the launch of the Checkers (now Shoprite) supermarkets.

By the time Ackerman retired in 2010 and handed the chairman’s reins to son Gareth, Pick n Pay was operating 20 hypermarkets and 402 supermarkets across South Africa, with a group turnover of almost 50 billion rand ($2.60 billion).

With branches in seven other Africa countries, Pick n Pay today generates 106 billion rand in annual turnover and owns more than 2,000 stores.

The Ackerman family, including his wife Wendy and their four children – Suzanne, Kathryn, Jonathan and Gareth, is also known for its philanthropic work.