Senegal online food company sees sales double due to epidemic

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Dakar – Senegal online food company sees sales double due to epidemic, a welcome to a fledgling delivery service in a country where produce is usually bought in shops or markets, a report said Monday.

Since the coronavirus reached Senegal, a growing number of in the capital have begun ordering groceries online.

Report says Club Kossam now delivers milk products, vegetables, fruit and meat to 1,300 in Dakar per week with monthly sales doubling since the start of the epidemic.

In contrast, the core business of its parent company La Laiterie du Berger (LDB) and local suppliers have been hit hard by the crisis.

The delivery firm sped up a planned expansion of its services in March, when normal shopping was disrupted by a dusk-to-dawn curfew, limits to public transport, and the closure of open-air markets to combat the virus.

According to LDB founder Bagore Bathily, its decision to offer weekly deliveries of vegetables and fruit in addition to the products it had sold since 2016 was a game-changer for the business.

“With vegetables, its clear activity has exploded,” Bathily told Reuters.

Club Kossam’s sales hit 62 million CFA francs (103,000 dollars) in April, compared with a monthly average of 30 million before the epidemic and it has recruited 25 employees to cope with the surge in demand.

In contrast, sales of LDB’s main brand Dolima fell 20 per cent in the same period.

The business is one of 60 in Senegal’s nascent e-commerce sector, according to a UN trade and development report, which highlights efforts by the trade ministry to respond to the outbreak by fast-tracking e-commerce reforms.

“Coronavirus lockdowns are hastening a shift towards online shopping across the continent,’’ African e-commerce giant Jumia said this week.

However, Club Kossam’s Manager, Lucien Diedhiou, sees the trend lasting beyond the end of the epidemic.

“There is a new generation that is changing habits.

“Both men and women work now, so I’m confident Senegalese will remain interested in our services,” he added.

For now, Club Kossam accounts for around 6 per cent of LDB’s revenue, which amounted to around 5 billion CFA francs in 2018.