Shoprite to exit Nigeria amid COVID-19 pandemic -- after 15 years/

South African Company, Shoprite Holdings Limited, has revealed plans to pull out of Nigeria, citing plunge in profit amid the coronavirus pandemic which has taken a toll on global economy.

In a statement issued on Monday, the company said it is considering auctioning off its outlets in Nigeria.

The development comes about 15 years after the company opened its first store in Lagos in December 2005.

In an “Operational and Voluntary Trading Update (52 Weeks Ended 28 June 2020)” released, Shoprite disclosed that it had been approached by “various potential investors”.

The update read: “Despite difficult circumstances, in a year incorporating the COVID-19 lockdown and accompanying regulations governing trade, transport and operations, the Group increased total sale of merchandise for the 52 weeks to 28 June 2020 (including the impact of hyperinflation in the prior year) by 6.4% to approximately R156.9 billion. Like-for-like growth for the year was 4.4%.

“Following approaches from various potential investors, and in line with our re-evaluation of the Group’s operating model in Nigeria, the Board has decided to initiate a formal process to consider the potential sale of all, or a majority stake, in Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Shoprite International Limited.

“As such, Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited may be classified as a discontinued operation when Shoprite reports its results for the year. Any further updates will be provided to the market at the appropriate time.”

The development has continued to generate mixed reactions. While some expressed concerns over how such move could further worsen the unemployment situation in the country, some believe it is a positive move for local investors.