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.
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.
Why Shoprite has struggled in Nigeria
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.
Copied BBC News