Retail group buys rights to 'Reader's Digest' in South Africa

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Heritage Collection, a direct mail marketing and publishing company that ownsthe rights to publish "Reader's Digest" in south-ern Africa, has been acquired by a retailing group, New Clicks Holdings.

New Clicks owns a number of businesses, including Clicks Stores, a chain of 217 specialty stores in South Africa that sell health, home and beauty products; Priceline, an Australian retailer of similar products; Diskom, a southern African group of 196 stores selling toiletries, household products and gifts; and Musica, a South African chain of music stores.

New Clicks recently also acquired House, a 65-store home wares and lifestyle franchise in Australia. Heritage, which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, has seen its share price fall to less than a third since its listing last year.

In December 1999, Heritage was granted a 15-year license to market Reader's Digest products and to publish the magazine in sub-Saharan Africa. Trevor Honneysett, chief executive of New Clicks Holdings, says: "Overseas trends indicate the ad-vantages of mail order as a smart way into e-commerce. It's all about bricks and mortar retailers moving into e-tailing without the burn. The relationship with Heritage has compelling advantages for both parties. We bring our product-sourcing skills, whereas Heritage has huge expertise in data-mining, direct mail and publishing."

Copyright December 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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