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Africa’s biggest supermarket considers pulling out of Nigeria

Written by on August 4, 2020

Africa’s biggest supermarket chain, South African-owned Shoprite, says it is considering pulling out of Nigeria.

It said it was looking at selling all “or a majority stake” of its operations in Africa’s most-populous country.

Shoprite is the latest South African retailer to look at leaving Nigeria – clothing firm Mr Price announced its exit in June, and Woolworths in 2014.

Shoprite’s decision comes at a time when Nigeria’s economy is struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Economists from the World Bank have warned that the oil-rich country could be on the brink of its worst recession since the 1980s because of “the collapse in oil prices coupled with the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Shoprite said lockdown restrictions because of coronavirus had affected its operations in 14 African countries, with sales declining by 1.4% in those markets. Its South African operations on the other hand witnessed “significant growth”.

The retailer has also been battling currency-induced inflation surges – especially in Nigeria, where it has been hit hardest.

Shoprite employs at least 2,000 people in Nigeria.

The retailer’s stores in the capital, Abuja, and the commercial hub, Lagos, became a flashpoint for outrage in 2019, following violent attacks in South Africa on other migrants from elsewhere in the continent.

The National Association of Nigerian Students (Nans) – which represents university students at campuses across the country – picketed branches of Shoprite and South African telecoms giant MTN, turning away staff and customers.

The student body demanded that all South African-owned businesses leave the West African state.

(SOURCE : BBC)


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