Massmart, the South African retail group owned by US giant Walmart, said 41 of its stores, which include Builders, Makro and Game outlets, were looted and trashed in this week’s violent carnage.
The company said “protestors” looted 18 Cambridge stores, 10 Game stores, eight Builders stores, three Cash & Carry outlets and two Makro stores. Two of its distribution centres were also attacked and ransacked. “Altogether, four facilities have suffered significant damage due to arson,” it added.
“As we have managed through the crisis, our immediate priority as a company has been first and foremost to ensure the safety and security of our employees and customers and to take practical steps to protect our stores and distribution centre facilities,” JSE-listed Massmart said in a statement to shareholders.
“This has resulted in the temporary closure of a number of vulnerable stores and facilities over the last few days. Massmart has activated backup plans to ensure full and complete business recovery, starting with the responsible reopening of stores as soon as it is safe and practical to do so.”
It said it has also activated “business continuity replenishment plans that involve shifting replenishment capability to distribution centres into which we have built in backup capacity”, adding that it is “confident in our ability to service the stock needs of our stores”. Insurance cover will help minimise losses to the group.
“Massmart continues to collaborate with and leverage the full support and expertise of its majority shareholder, Walmart, who have unambiguously expressed their commitment to our business.”
The group’s share price rallied about 3% on Friday morning. Over the past week, it has slumped by 15% as investors watched on national television as some of its KwaZulu-Natal facilities went up in flames. — © 2021 NewsCentral Media