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South African retailer Shoprite to close Congo operations

Reuters logo Reuters 11/22/2022 Reuters
FILE PHOTO: Man wearing a protective face mask walks outside a Shoprite store in Abuja © Thomson Reuters FILE PHOTO: Man wearing a protective face mask walks outside a Shoprite store in Abuja

KINSHASA (Reuters) -South African retailer Shoprite has decided to shut its shops in Democratic Republic of Congo, a company statement seen by Reuters on Tuesday showed.

The decision follows the closure of operations in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Madagascar as the group aims to focus more on its business in South Africa, Shoprite said.

"The decision to close operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo during this period is regrettable but is part of the group's long-term strategy," its statement dated Nov. 21 said.

South Africa's biggest retailer by market capitalisation launched in Congo in 2012 during a period of aggressive expansion push into African's frontier retail markets.

Shoprite's three shops in Congo were among its 2,800 stores across 15 countries in Africa.

The company said after the sale of its Nigerian unit last year that it was changing its model from an ownership to a franchise one after a review of its long-term options in Africa.

It said its expansion plans had been hit by currency volatility, double-digit inflation, high import duties and dollar-based rentals.

(Reporting by Stanis Bujakera; Writing by Nellie Peyton;Editing by Bate Felix and Alexander Smith)

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