Shoprite May Shut Down Operations In Some Countries Due To Backlash Of Xenophobia

Shoprite Group, Africa’s largest grocer, has announced that it is considering leaving countries outside South Africa where the performance of its supermarket operations is unimpressive, adding that it had experienced downturn in revenue since the spark in alleged xenophobic attacks in some parts of South Africa.

 According to the firm’s operational update for the quarter ending in September it said it would conduct a performance review of the markets after it recorded a 4.9% depreciation in revenue in the third quarter of 2019 excluding its South African market where it has its core business.

Chief Executive Officer Pieter Engelbrecht told shareholders at an annual meeting on Monday “If we have to close a country we will, we will make the decision no matter how hard it is,” he added that “We are not scared to take the hard decisions.”

The company blamed currency devaluations and Xenophobic attacks on its Nigerian business after violence erupted in South Africa against immigrants from other African countries.

Despite the setback, Shoprite’s South African unit deliver a 10.3 percent increase in revenue in the three months leading to September this year. This compares with a 1.7 percent sales growth recorded in the same period a year earlier.

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The shares of the grocer jumped some 3 percent Tuesday to 139.20 rand as of 7:00 pm Nigerian time on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), bringing the company’s market value to 82.31 billion rand ($5.6 billion).

Recall that in September some angry Nigerians mobbed Shoprite Complexes at Jakande, Sangotedo area of Ajah and lekki in lagos as a form of protest on the series of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa. 

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