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Pick n Pay: 136 stores were looted, damaged

Two of the group’s distribution centres in Pinetown Durban were also ransacked and vandalised.
Last week's civil unrest 'had a significant impact on the group’s operations in the affected areas – particularly in KZN. Image: Supplied

Supermarket group Pick n Pay on Wednesday updated the market about the impact of last week’s riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng on its business, confirming in a voluntary Sens announcement that 136 stores across the company were “looted and/or damaged by fire”.

Half (68) of the affected outlets were Pick n Pay-branded stores and the other half were Boxer stores, which largely targets the lower end of the South African grocery market.

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Of the overall total, the group noted that 28 were Pick n Pay company-owned supermarkets, 15 were Pick n Pay franchise stores and 64 were Boxer supermarkets.

“The remaining 29 stores comprised Pick n Pay Clothing stores [2], Express Convenience stores [14], independent Market stores [9] and Boxer Build stores [4]. In addition, 76 liquor stores across Pick n Pay and Boxer were looted and/or burned, but were not in any event trading due to the government’s Covid-19 restrictions,” Pick n Pay said.

The group also highlighted that two of its distribution centres (DCs) in Pinetown Durban were looted and damaged.

Fellow Cape Town- headquartered food retail competitor Shoprite revealed on Tuesday that over 200 of its stores were affected in the two provinces.

Read: Over 200 Shoprite group stores looted in last week’s unrest

“Alongside all South Africans, the Pick n Pay Group was saddened by the civil unrest and destruction last week in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng…. At the peak of the unrest, a significant number of Pick n Pay and Boxer stores in the affected areas were closed as a precaution,” the company noted in its Sens update.

“As a result of this swift action, casualties were kept to a minimum, and the small number of colleagues who were injured are now thankfully well on the road to recovery.”

“As the situation began to improve from Wednesday 14 July, the group was able to re-open stores in KZN and Gauteng that were closed as a precaution, and a large majority of all stores are now fully open and trading,” the company said.

“The civil unrest had a significant impact on the group’s operations in the affected areas – particularly in KZN – as a result of physical damage to property, looting of stock, and an interruption to trade.

“The group moved rapidly to implement its formal disaster recovery plans to restore affected operations in KZN and Gauteng, and to replenish stock levels in the affected regions,” Pick n Pay added.

The company noted that of the 136 stores which were looted and/or burned, 32 have already been cleaned, repaired and have either been reopened or will reopen by the end of this week.

“A number of looted liquor stores are also ready to be reopened when Covid-19 regulations permit.

“By the end of this week, we expect the proportion of the store network still closed to have reduced to 7%…. Through tremendous teamwork both of the [affected] DCs will have been repaired and restocked, and will recommence operations,” Pick n Pay added.

It pointed out that Pick n Pay and Boxer stores in KZN are currently being serviced from the group’s Boxer distribution centre in Lynnfield, near Pietermaritzburg.

“The process of restocking stores across the region has been greatly assisted by our national, centralised distribution capability. Well over 200 trucks have so far been routed into KZN from as far afield as the Western Cape and our Longmeadow DC in Gauteng to bring vital stocks to our stores in the affected areas,” it said.

“Although the situation remains fragile in some areas, the group is tremendously encouraged by the progress it has achieved in recent days, and is confident of its ability fully to restore its operations in the affected areas.”

Pick n Pay Group CEO, Pieter Boone, commented: “On behalf of the board and my team, I want to thank colleagues across Pick n Pay and Boxer – including our valued franchise partners – for your tremendous teamwork and unfailing morale during this very difficult period.”

“We ask for understanding from our customers for any remaining disruption as we work tirelessly to deliver an uninterrupted supply of food and groceries around the country. Pick n Pay and Boxer remain absolutely determined to serve customers in all the communities where our stores are located.”

Gareth Ackerman, chairman of Pick n Pay Group said: “Recent events underline the importance of food security in South Africa. Businesses like the Pick n Pay Group – alongside our valued partners, suppliers and producers – play a vital role in maintaining a sustainable and continuous food supply.”

He added: “In achieving this, businesses depend crucially on social, political and economic stability, effective security, and fully-functioning transport and other infrastructure.

“In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent civil unrest, all stakeholders must work together to achieve stability, security and growth. Pick n Pay has played an integral part in the lives of South Africans for the past 54 years, and will continue to do so.”

Meanwhile, Boone said that the group has seen good sales growth over the past week in areas unaffected by the disruption.

“We are working to restore a full service as rapidly as possible in the affected areas, and will not rest until every impacted store is repaired, restocked and reopened to customers.”

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Their children, grandchildren and generations to come will pay.

Just like Zimbabwe.

A testimony to South Africa’s population. The sheer number of stores looted evidences that this is not a small criminal clique but wholesale numbers of “ordinary” citizens who have no moral values and no conscience.

Once again, we are becoming the skunks of the planet-truly shameful and I am ashamed to be South African!!

Where is the moral compass?

Just because something is left unattended does not mean you may or should steal it.

It points to the upbringing, standards and morals of a society.

The leaders(ANC) are without morals now what did you expect from the followers? The ANC leaders stole more than 1 trillion according what was revealed in the Zondo commission. We are are amateurs. Our stealing and damage only amounted to 50 million.

Dont worry, there is enough money to give Boone, a foreigner 50+ white man a R50mil sign-up bonus, everything will be fine. Wena you shareholders can stop stressing haha

The events of the past few years show how thin the veneer of civilization is – despite academic claims to the sanctity of “democratic institutions”.

Leaving aside all the sociological and philosophical musings, I really would like to be a fly on the wall during the implementation of the disaster recovery plans – its pretty incredible that the warehouses are rebuilt and almost restocked.

From a certain perspective the prevailing conditions in this country trains one to be well adapted to understanding and responding to various types of risks – definitely a marketable skill. In fact these past 18 months have been educational for those involved in managing risk – no need to pay obscene amounts to those fancy risk accreditation bodies.

A “proudly” South African event.

Orchestrated from within the Skunkworks…

(Like the 666 which has a number, similarly the main “skunk” can be identified by the names of his friends..Ace, Julius, Carl, Tony, Andile…)

Perhaps add a tear gas ( or better ) system to the sprinkler system at the least !

“The grabbing hands grab all they can
All for themselves – after all”

“Everything counts in large amounts”

DEPECHE MODE (1983)

You are revealing your age

We gotta move these refrigerators
We gotta move these colour TV’s
Now that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Money for nothin’…

[Dire Straits c.1985]

Look at the numbers of stores. Pnp, shoprite etc.

This was not just a criminal element here and there, this was well organised, orchestrated very wide spread looting and criminality.

This was not a word of mouth, lets go looting tomorrow sort of thing, it all started at the same time. There must have been a well organised message system informing people when to start.

The big question is, after hearing various ministers tripping each other up, did they really not know or did they all keep quiet to enable a coup. If so it came from Zuma and his supporters and buddies within government. CR heads up.

Very little soap or deodorant looted. How strange

I have this story from last week on good authority: At a police station when the rioters were approaching – the police station was close to the local mall – the police boarded up the station and left!! When questioned later they (police) said that had left because they had not received the increase they had requested!!!!WOW.

Pick n Pay should rebrand their shops in these areas as Jip n Jol!

End of comments.

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