Groupon: we are the biggest online retailer in SA

New CEO at Groupon SA, Emilian Popa, says that the company is the biggest and most successful online retailer in the country.

Popa made the claim in an interview with CNBC Africa after the company announced his appointment late last week.

Popa’s comments are sure to raise the eyebrow of Takealot CEO, Kim Reid.

Reid recently said that, while Naspers-owned Kalahari.com is the largest e-commerce site in SA, he expects Takealot – with growth exceeding 100% – to overtake the SA leader within the next 12 months.

In May, Takealot, said it raised $100 million (just over R1 billion) from its major shareholder, Tiger Global Management.

“Groupon South Africa spent a lot of money on marketing, acquired a huge number of subscribers and customers, which makes it the biggest and most successful online retailer in this country today,” Popa told CNBC Africa.

When questioned about the size of Kalahari, Popa said he was not aware of the numbers.

Launched in 2010, Groupon South Africa features one daily deal on the best things to do, see, eat, and buy in a variety of cities across South Africa. It forms part of a wider, listed operation, present in 49 countries.

Initially a group buying website, Popa said that the site is becoming, more and more, an e-commerce company.

“We plan, globally – and in South Africa as well – to expand into a number of categories and products, from home, fashion, and anything that can be sold online and that people are looking for,” he said.

Popa has taken over the reigns from two of the founding members of the SA business, Daniel Guasco and Wayne Gosling, who are stepping down.

“I wouldn’t say it competes directly with Takealot and Kalahari. Groupon is still a flash-sale dealer-online retailer, whereas Kalahari and Takealot are more into categories than catalogue sales,” he said.

“We are a profitable company here in South Africa, so we have enough cash flow to sustain growth,” Popa said.

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Groupon: we are the biggest online retailer in SA