Pick n Pay and Woolworths on how looting will impact shoppers in South Africa

 ·13 Jul 2021

Pick n Pay says that some of its stores have been impacted by looting and violence in parts of Gauteng and KZN, but that outlets in other parts of the country are continuing to operate as normal.

However, in areas that have been hit by the looting, these outlets will remain closed until calm, law and order have been restored.

“In common with other retailers, some of Pick n Pay’s stores have been affected by the disruption and damage in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng,” said David North, chief strategy officer at Pick n Pay.

“The safety of our customers and staff is always our first priority, and, as a precaution, we have temporarily closed a number of stores in the affected areas,” he said.

“We have had disruptions to deliveries in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, and we are working hard with our teams to restock our stores as soon as the situation calms and the safety of our people can be assured.

“It is too early to give an assessment of the trading and financial impact, but our stores continue to be open and trading in areas not affected by the disruption.”

A Woolworths spokesperson said that the group was seeing a similar situation across its stores.

“Woolworths can confirm that some of our stores in have been closed due to the protest action. The safety of our staff and customers remains our highest priority. All operations will resume once it is safe to continue to trade,” the group said.

The continuing looting in Gauteng and KZN has caused widespread damage to retailers in South Africa and concerns around food security.

More than 200 shopping malls had been looted by mid-Monday afternoon and retailers had lost an estimated R2 billion, said Busisiwe Mavuso, the chief executive officer of Business Leadership South Africa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa appealed for calm in a televised address on Monday night – his second in two days – and warned that the riots posed a severe threat to food security and were disrupting efforts to inoculate people against Covid-19.

“What we are witnessing now are opportunistic acts of criminality, with groups of people instigating chaos merely as a cover for looting and theft,” he said.

“The poor and the marginalized will bear the ultimate brunt of the destruction that’s currently underway.”

Read: South Africa to declare a state of emergency should the need arise: defence minister

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