South Africa’s foremost grocery and retail company, Shoprite is leaving Nigeria after 15 years of operations in Africa’s most populous nation.
It has been revealed that Shoprite is re-evaluating its operating model across Africa, amidst logistic concerns and the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The slow down of sales in their respective shops in Nigeria has led to the shut down of the brand.
“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,” the company said in a statement.
“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.”
Shoprite Holdings has reported a drop in annual earnings, hurt by an impairment charge it recorded during the year.
The Cape Town-based retailer has started a formal process to sell all or a majority stake in its supermarkets in Nigeria.
International supermarkets (excluding Nigeria) contributed 11.6% to group sales, and reported 1.4% decline in sales from 2018.
A Recurrent struggle
South African retailers have struggled in the Nigeria market. Mr Price exited the Nigerian market after Truworths pulled out as well.
In April, Nairametrics reported that Shoprite Holdings in Nigeria lost 8.1% of its sales in constant currency terms at the end of the second half (H2) of 2019 due to September’s Xenophobic attacks and reprisals back in Nigeria.
Chief Executive Officer of Shoprite, Pieter Engelbrecht, says: “we remain committed to operating on the continent but are limiting future expansion whilst we review our options with regards to alternate operating models.
“Notwithstanding this, we have taken a number of immediate operational actions, all of which are ongoing and include rent reductions, store closures, productivity improvements and de-dollarising costs.
“We are confident in the absence of further currency devaluations and any unforeseen circumstances that these operational measures will positively impact profitability. Looking ahead, the Group enters the second half with ongoing determination.
“Our investment in technology affords us greater visibility and results in better decision making across the business. This, together with the launch of our Xtra Savings Rewards Programme, is significant for the Group and bodes well for a future-fit Shoprite.”
Sadly, Shoprite’s plan to finally leave Nigeria will cause massive job loss in Nigeria and would trigger high unemployment figures.