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Massmart flags annual loss to widen at least 60%

Hurt by store damages and lower trading income suffered due to looting as part of the civil unrest in the country last year.
Image: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

South African retailer Massmart flagged on Friday a wider annual loss of up to R1.6 billion ($106 million), hurt by store damage and lower trading income due to looting during the country’s civil unrest last year.

The retailer, majority-owned by Walmart Inc, said it expects its 2021 headline loss, the main profit measure in South Africa, from total operations to come in between R1.478 billion and R1.571 billion. That is at least 60% to 70% wider than the loss of R924 million reported in 2020.

Excluding food businesses held for sale such as Cambridge and Rhino stores, the loss is seen widening to between R938 million and R1 billion.

The owner of Game general merchandise chain had said in December it took a significant inventory write-off because of the looting that erupted after President Jacob Zuma was forced to turn himself in to be jailed for contempt of court in July.

The looting directly impacted 43 of its stores, resulting in lost trading profit of around R450 million and an accounting loss of around R650 million after insurance proceeds.

Read the sens here.

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