KAMPALA: South Africa’s retail outlet, Shoprite, has announced it is exiting Uganda and Madagascar.
The retailer runs supermarkets at Village Mall, Bugolobi, Lugogo Mall, Victoria Mall in Entebbe and Acacia Mall in Kololo.
Reuters reported that Shoprite has been reviewing its long-term options across Africa over the past year as currency devaluations, lower commodity prices and high inflation have hit household incomes and weighed on earnings.
It was widely held that Shoprite would take advantage of the exit of Kenya’s biggest retail chains – Uchumi and Nakumatt – to cement its foot print in Kampala.
However, on August 23, Shoprite, which has been in Uganda since 2000, announced: “In line with the group’s non-RSA review process, our operations in Madagascar and Uganda have been classified as discontinued.”
The review also led to closure of operations in neighbouring Kenya. In Nigeria where Shoprite stores were attacked in retaliation to the xenophobic killings in South Africa, the outlets were sold to a local buyer.
Shoprite has been grappling with intense local retail supermarkets such as Quality Supermarkets, Capital Shoppers and Mega Standard Supermarkets.
Shoprite employs hundreds of staff in this Kampala outlets but the better part of its merchandise is mainly imported from South Africa.
However, during the opening of Shoprite branch at Acacia Mall, Jayte Slabbert, the General Manager Shoprite Uganda, said the stores would create over 90 new jobs.
“We are particularly proud of the fact that over 51% of employees in Uganda are women,” said Slabbert.
“Shoprite Uganda is also proud of the fact that 76% of Shoprite’s fresh produce is sourced from local farmers. This shows our commitment to growing the Ugandan economy. Local suppliers are subjected to the same stringent quality standards and demanding targets expected of Shoprite’s international suppliers,” he said then.