Shoprite Holdings – Africa’s largest food retailer – revealed in a Sens statement on Tuesday that just over 200 of the group’s stores in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and Gauteng were affected by the looting and vandalism in the two provinces last week.
Most of the stores affected were within its SA supermarkets division, but its liquor, furniture and distribution centres were also impacted, largely in KZN which saw the brunt of the unrest and incidents of arson.
Of the group’s 1 189 supermarkets trading under the Shoprite, Usave, Checkers and Checkers Hyper banners in SA, Shoprite said 119 stores (69 Shoprite, 44 Usave and six Checkers, including one Checkers Hyper) have been severely impacted as a result of looting and/or fire damage.
“Of the group’s 537-store RSA LiquorShop business, currently restricted from trading under Covid-19 alert Level 4 lockdown regulations, 54 stores have been impacted,” it added, noting that the group’s Freshmark (fresh produce) distribution centre (DC) in Durban was also looted.
However, it pointed out that operational capacity has been fully restored at the DC since Sunday, July 18.
Source: Make SA Safe, Facebook
“Our KwaZulu-Natal dry goods DC resumed deliveries to our stores in the province from Thursday last week. The Gauteng-based DC has operated seamlessly throughout to the extent that it delivered goods to our KwaZulu-Natal operations from as early as Thursday last week in support of our stores re-opening in a phased approach throughout the province,” said Shoprite.
With regards to the group’s 340-store furniture division (including OK Furniture and House & Home) in SA, it said 35 stores “experienced severe damage either from vandalism, looting and/or fire”.
The group noted that most of its stores (in KZN and Gauteng) that closed on a precautionary basis last week have since been reopened.
“Despite constraints in certain instances from store closures due to landlords keeping centres closed, the group is committed to rebuilding and restoring operations as quickly as possible and with each passing day we add to our count of stores re-opening for business,” said Shoprite.
The group pointed out that despite the week of political and social unrest in South Africa impacting its operations in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces, it is “noteworthy that, as a result of exceptionally strong turnover in the remainder of the group’s nation-wide operations, the group’s Supermarkets RSA segment achieved positive sales growth last week.”
Meanwhile, Shoprite said that it is adequately insured for material damage to assets, stock and business interruption.
“Whilst some necessary irrecoverable one-off costs have been incurred in relation to protecting our operations, they are not expected to be material at a group level and will be highlighted as part of our routine reporting,” it added.
Commenting following the looting and damage, Shoprite Group CEO Pieter Engelbrecht said: “Our sincere thanks go out to our colleagues in particular to our regional teams in the affected areas. Their efforts, together with world class execution by our loss prevention, supply chain and fleet management teams were unsurpassed.”
“To our loyal Usave, Shoprite and Checkers customers your resounding show of support collectively contributed to our ability to re-open and rebuild our business and serve our communities in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng last week. We cannot thank you enough.”