Shoprite Chief Executive, Pieter Engelbrecht, at the Group’s Results Presentation for the year ended 1 July 2018.

489 armed robberies in one year: “We’ve been to war” says Shoprite CEO

Shoprite CEO, Pieter Engelbrecht, says it’s been an incredibly tough year.


Shoprite Chief Executive, Pieter Engelbrecht, at the Group’s Results Presentation for the year ended 1 July 2018.

South African supermarket franchise, Shoprite, has had an incredibly tough year.

When Shoprite CEO, Pieter Engelbrecht, says that his company has been to war – he means it, in the most literal sense. During his annual results presentation on Tuesday, the supermarket boss detailed the troubles faced by his company over the past year.

Crimewave looks to crack Shoprite

Most troubling of all, is the nationwide crime wave which has plagued Shoprite stores, resulting in the deaths of security personnel and marked negative impact on operations.

Shockingly, Shoprite has been hit by 489 armed robberies in the period from July 2017 to June 2018. This works out to more than one attack every single day.

While that amount of violence is enough to break any company, Engelbrecht says that the scourge of criminality is just one of the issues hurting Shoprite’s stock.

Tough year for Shoprite

The CEO lists further stumbling blocks endured by the company over the last year:

  • Record high petrol prices which have raised inflation rates
  • Record low GDP growth in the first financial quarter
  • Chronic unemployment causing consumer strain
  • First VAT increase in 25 years
  • First ever sugar tax
  • Listeriosis outbreak – largest ever product recall
  • 150 trading days lost to service delivery protests
  • Industrial action over Christmas and Easter

Considering the above, it’s understandable that Shoprite’s share prices have dropped 4%. What’s more worrying is the company’s trouble outside of South Africa.

According to Business Insider, sales in other African markets fell by 7% and trading profit more than halved – with operations in Angola faring the worst.

Top of the liquor market

Engelbrecht’s bitter pill is the fact that Shoprite’s losses may prove to be their competitor’s gain.

Retail adversaries, Pick n Pay, have recorded sale growth of up to 8% – while Shoprite recorded a measly 3%.

Still, Engelbrecht remains optimistic about future growth, pointing to Shoprite’s burgeoning growth in liquor sector.

By opening one liquor store almost every week, for an entire year, the franchise has managed to secure its position as the country’s largest corporate liquor retailer.

Shoprite now has a total of 440 liquor stores – with low sales relating to the grocery market being balanced out with exponential sale growth in the liquor market reaching close to 21%.

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