Mr Price to Exit Nigeria, Closes Stores

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SWITZERLAND, JUNE 27 – South African clothing and homeware retailer, Mr Price Group has announced its plans to exit the Nigerian market, this being the group’s third country departure after shutting its operations in Poland and Australia last year.

The Chief Executive Officer of the clothing and homeware retailer told analysts at the group’s full-year results presentation on Thursday that the company has already shut four of its five Nigerian stores and expects to close the last one in the coming months.

This decision, he said will help the company focus on its home market.

 “Quite frankly I’m not prepared to invest any further whether it’s an investment in time or money into a country that is volatile as it is.

“In the early days we were making money but now we just came up against too many roadblocks”, Reuters quoted Blair to have said.

South African companies have long struggled to operate in Nigeria, encountering supply-chain disruptions and challenges in getting funds outside the country.

In 2013, Woolworths Holdings Ltd., the South African seller of clothing and organic food exited the Nigerian market while grocer Shoprite Holdings Ltd. said it may close some stores in the country.

 “We are really going to focus on South Africa in a more concentrated way,” Mark Stirton, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, mentioned.

The company said it expects “a lot of distress among retail peers” in South Africa which is gradually emerging from a lockdown which has ravaged the economy. Retail shops selling non-essential items were only allowed to resume fully at the start of this month after being closed for about five weeks.

As part of measures of conserving cash, the company did not declare a final dividend and also said it has frozen head-office salaries.

Meanwhile, Mr Price blazed the trail last month by announcing plans to sell its shares while pursuing growth opportunities, a move later replicated by rivals, The Foschini Group Ltd and Pepkor Holding Ltd.

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