The Board of Africa’s biggest retailer, Shoprite Holdings Limited, has announced plans to discontinue operations in Nigeria after 15 years.
This was disclosed in the company’s operational and voluntary trading update that was published Monday morning.
The largest retail group, which announced a 6.4 per cent increase (R156.9billion) in total sales of merchandise for the outgoing year despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, announced that it took the decision to discontinue its Nigeria operation “following approaches from various potential investors, and in line with our re-evaluation of the group’s operating model in Nigeria.”
“The Board has decided to initiate a formal process to consider the potential sale of all, or a majority stake, in Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Shoprite International Limited. As such, Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited may be classified as a discontinued operation when Shoprite reports its results for the year. Any further updates will be provided to the market at the appropriate time,” the report stated.
While the company’s total sales of merchandise may be on the rise, it is struggling outside South Africa. According to the report, the non-South Africa supermarket operation of the company, excluding Nigeria, contributed a paltry 11.6 per cent to the group sales. Its non-South Africa sales also declined by 1.4 per cent in the year under review. The company blamed this decline on the lockdown announced in several African countries due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Second half constant currency sales growth of 6.3% was significantly impacted by lockdown regulations across the 14 African countries in which we trade. Lockdown restrictions pertaining to store closures; social distancing; transport restrictions; the movement of people; trading hours; workforce limitations and trade in alcohol impacted various regions to differing degrees at different times.”
Shoprite came into Nigeria in December 2005 and now has a total of 26 stores across eight states in the country including Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The company also claim to have employed more than 2,000 people in Nigeria, of which 99 per cent of them are Nigerians.