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Senegal online food company sees sales double due to epidemic

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Since the coronavirus reached Senegal, a growing number of residents in the capital have begun ordering groceries online, a welcome boost to a fledgling delivery service in a country where produce is usually bought in shops or markets.

Workers from Club Kossam, a local online food delivery company, prepare groceries and dairy products for delivery, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Diamniadio, Senegal May 7, 2020. Picture taken May 7, 2020. REUTERS/Christophe Van Der Perre

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DAKAR: Since the coronavirus reached Senegal, a growing number of residents in the capital have begun ordering groceries online, a welcome boost to a fledgling delivery service in a country where produce is usually bought in shops or markets.

Club Kossam now delivers milk products, vegetables, fruit and meat to 1,300 households 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.

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The delivery firm sped up a planned expansion of it 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.

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

"With vegetables, it's clear activity has exploded," he told Reuters.

Club Kossam's sales hit 62 million CFA francs (US$103,000) 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 20per cent in the same period.

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