Mortuary saga spooks PnP shares
The retailer denies allegations that it was sharing a storage facility near Pretoria with a mortuary
Pick n Pay’s share price fell 1.73% to R66.60 on Monday following allegations that it was sharing a storage facility in Rayton, east of Pretoria, with a mortuary.
The retailer moved to deny the allegations after an exposé by Business Day’s sister publication, Sowetan, on Monday.
The storeroom, which was allegedly used as a food storage facility for the local Pick n Pay, was cleared on Sunday after the newspaper sent questions about its existence last week.
Pick n Pay spokeswoman Tamra Veley said the storeroom "is used by a nearby service station, which is situated next to the building. The Pick n Pay store is 400m away from this facility".
The food retailer is the second largest supermarket chain store in SA, with stores across southern Africa.
When Sowetan visited the area on Monday, the storeroom had no stock of cooking oil, soft drinks, maize meal flour and energy drinks that were packed in the room on Friday.
Workers were busy filling open spaces between the wall and the roof with bricks and cement throughout Monday, in what seemed to be renovations.
There was no one at Angels Funeral Services, the mortuary, and all its doors were closed and locked.
An elderly man working in a carpentry shop and vehicle repair centre behind the mortuary, housed in the same building, refused to talk about the alleged storage arrangement.
"No comment about this building. Go to Pick n Pay and speak to Sam," he said.
On Friday, when Sowetan visited the storage facility, it was a totally different scene altogether as the building was packed with goods.
Two men, including a middle-aged man in a light blue shirt with Pick n Pay embroidery on it, hovered around the premises in the afternoon.
SJ da Silva, who owns the Rayton Park Pick n Pay, on Monday disputed claims that any of the food stored at the facility was being sold in the local branch of the national supermarket chain.
Instead, he said, the goods stored at the facility were being sold at a nearby garage shop, which he also owned.
"There’s items not listed by Pick n Pay which we sell at the garage, that’s what was stored there. We can’t sell that here," he said yesterday.
He said the food was moved from the storeroom due to renovations taking place at the building. When asked if he would be returning the food to the same building once the renovations had been completed, Da Silva answered: "That I don’t know yet, the previous owner, the people that I am buying from, have given a notice to the funeral parlour."