Central News Agency or Consolidated News Agencies, better known simply as CNA, is a South African retail chain of stationery and book stores.

  • CNA
  • Central News Agency
  • Consolidated News Agencies
Company typePrivate
Founded1896; 128 years ago (1896)[1]
FounderMichael Davis and Albert Lindbergh
Servicesstationery retail
RevenueR2 billion (2015)[2]
R614 million (2015)[2]
R35 million (2015)[2]



Founded in 1896 to sell newspapers in Johannesburg by using newspaper delivery boys on foot and bicycles, CNA initially focused on selling The Star, The Standard and the Diggers News newspapers. A breakthrough for the company came in 1902 when The Argus and the Cape Times newspapers granted a contract to the company to publish all of their newspapers. By 1904 the company had stores across South Africa and continued to expand to meet demand for news during World War I. The company was floated on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 1903 to raise £120,000[3] (equivalent to £129,500,000 in 2017 based on its economic share).[4]

By 1928 the company was publishing most of South Africa's newspapers. Shortly after World War II the company expanded by opening outlets in Rhodesia (present day Zimbabwe).[3] In 1983 CNA merged with Gallo Africa to form CNA Gallo. The company acquired South African cinema chain Nu Metro in 1990 and proceeded to fully buy it out in 1992.[3] By 1995 the company had 350 stores across South Africa.[3] The company was acquired by Wooltru in 1995 for R500 million.[5]

A difficult retail market for stationery and books in the mid to late 1990s and internal restructuring put the company under financial pressure.[6] This led to it and its remaining 130 outlets being sold to Edcon in 2002 for R130 million.[7]


  1. ^ "CNA invests R2.2 million in barcode goodies". ITWeb. 4 March 1998. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Edcon - Five Year Group Review". edcon.co.za. Archived from the original on 27 July 2020. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "Central News Agency history". Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Relative Values - UK £". 17 December 2018. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  5. ^ "Wooltru snaps up CNA". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  6. ^ "Wooltru sold CNA to 'wrong bidder'". Business Report. 13 September 2002. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Edcon confirms CNA transaction". Fin24. 10 October 2002. Retrieved 17 December 2018.