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Shoprite creates 3 897 new jobs with a 42% hike in dividend

| On the move

Shoprite Holdings created 3 897 new jobs during the 53 weeks ended July 2021 and generated R133.9 billion in sales from its South African supermarkets, up 9.3 percent from a year earlier, notwithstanding the alcohol ban imposed as part of the government’s Covid-19 lockdown regulations, the group said yesterday.

Dineo Faku | IOL

Shoprite, which operates Shoprite, Usave, Checkers and Checkers Hyper outlets, rewarded shareholders with a final 353 centshoprite stores a share dividend, bringing the full year dividend to 544c a share, up 42 percent, from the previous year’s full dividend of 383c a share.

“Despite being South Africa’s largest private sector employer, we still aspire to create employment as it is critical to improve the lives of our fellow citizens. On that front, we added 3 897 new jobs this year,” said group chief executive Pieter Engelbrecht.

As a result of changed behaviour during the lockdown, Engelbrecht said customer visits for the year declined by 3.8 percent. However, the average basket spend increased by 13.6 percent.

He said the LiquorShop lost 144 trading days due to trading restrictions to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and recorded sales growth of 4.4 percent for the year as a result of the impact of lockdown regulations. However, LiquorShop online sales grew by 151 percent.

Shoprite, which boasts the country’s biggest rewards programme, said more than 20 million customers had signed up to the Xtra Savings rewards programme and Checkers Sixty60 became the number one grocery app in the country, with more than 1.5 million app downloads.

Shoprite sold its Nigerian supermarket business and closed operations in Kenya and classified its operations in Uganda and Madagascar as discontinued.

It recorded a 7.5 percent decline in sales from continuing non-South African supermarkets to R15.4bn compared with R16.7bn a year earlier as currency devaluations, Covid-19 regulations and trading challenges continued.

The group proposed the acquisition of Cambridge Food, Massfresh and Masscash Cash and Carry from Massmart Holdings last month subject to the fulfilment of regulatory and Competition Commission approval.

“This acquisition will accelerate our plans to expand our physical reach in these businesses and in turn bolster our brand presence and low-price promise at a time when our customers need it most,” said Engelbrecht.

Shoprite said 231 stores were looted, vandalised or damaged due to arson in parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal during the mayhem in July as it posted an 8.1 percent increase in sales during the 53 weeks ended July.

Out of the 231 stores impacted by the civil unrest, 177 were classified as looted and 54 as burnt. Of the 177 looted stores, 141 have since reopened and of the 54 burnt stores seven have since reopened. The group said stock worth R876 million was lost to the civil unrest.

“The decision was made that six loss-making stores will not be reopened. It is too early to estimate the full financial impact of the event as it is in the process of being assessed,” said Engelbrecht.

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