Africa’s largest food retailer ShopRite Nigeria has debunked the story making the rounds that it intends to close shop in Nigeria.
A spokesman for the South African owned company, Ini Archibong, in a telephone conversation with Vanguard, said: “Shoprite is not leaving Nigeria.
Reports had been circulating that the retail outlet has started a formal process to consider the potential sale of all or a majority of stake in its supermarkets in Nigeria.
The report said the retailer had struggled in the Nigeria market after other South African owned retailer shops exited the Nigeria market.
The report further stated that Shoprite results for the year do not reflect any of their operations in Nigeria as it will be classified as a discontinued operation. The report also added that international markets excluding Nigeria contributed 11.6 per cent to the group sales and reported 1.4 per cent decline in sales from 2018. South African operations contributed 78 per cent of the overall sales and saw 8.7 per cent rise for the years.
The report, concluded that as a result of the lockdown, customers’ visits to the shop declined 7.4 per cent but the average basket spends increased by 18.4 per cent.
But according to Archibong, “We have only just opened to Nigerian investors which we have also been talking to just before now. We are not leaving, who leaves over a $30billion investment and close shop? It doesn’t sound right. “We only gave this opportunity to Nigeria investors to come in and also help drive our expansion plan in Nigeria. So we are not leaving. “I have tried to say this to many people as I can. There should be no panic at all and all of that. There is no truth in that report.”
Why Shoprite has struggled in Nigeria
Analysis by Nduka Orjinmo, BBC News, Lagos
Shoprite’s failure in Nigeria is not surprising, the shiny shopping malls with escalators where its outlets are located are more popular for taking pictures than actual shopping.
Though it is regarded as a working-class supermarket in South Africa, most here consider it as catering to the upper classes.
Tens of millions of Nigerians are poor or unemployed – and the minority who have the spending power to shop at Shoprite have seen their finances take a battering because of the coronavirus pandemic.
These are hard times for businesses, but the slow growth at Shoprite Nigeria predates the pandemic.
Consumers here want quality services, but they want it on the cheap.