In June last year South Africa’s UCS Group acquired a 93% share in retail software house Ultimate Connection, with the objective of leveraging the local dealer market in order to capitalise on the lucrative software export market. In November Ultimate Connection became known as UCS Software and the Group is making inroads into the retail software solution arena across the globe.

Incorporating Ultimate Connection’s business, including its well-established ActiveRetail software application suite for small, medium and large retail organisations, UCS’s installed base rose to more than 10 000 in-store systems at the time of the acquisition. The Group was now in a position to offer a variety of retail solutions including Ultimate Connection’s Microsoft-based offering and Universal’s Linux-based solution.

"We increased our local market share by adding five new multi-store retailers to our growing list of customers converting to the Microsoft platform for both head office and in-store applications," says UCS Software managing director Neels van Tonder. "During the five months following the UCS acquisition, ActiveRetail was installed operationally in more than a hundred physical locations throughout South Africa. And we also made significant progress towards our goal of increasing our International market share with ActiveRetail spreading into Africa, Mauritius and the Middle East."

ActiveRetail is set to expand its African footprint significantly through the Innscor & Exxon Mobil Alliance. ActiveRetail was chosen to be used in all Innscor Fast Foods outlets (Chicken Inn, Nando’s, Steers, Pizza Inn, Creamy Inn, Sweet Factory, Gold Reef) and ExxonMobil services stations across Africa. The rollout is expected to continue over the next two years with the following African countries already onboard: Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. A further 20 alliance sites are planned for the remainder of this year into Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Angola, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia. Innscor foods have relationships with Steers, Nando’s and Mobil. The group is further engaged in a Pan-African initiative involving Coke and Nestle.