Botswanan budget retailer Choppies Enterprises says it plans to sell its stores in SA as growth stutters and unemployment soars in Africa’s most advanced economy.
The company, whose stock is currently suspended from trading on its primary bourse in Botswana, as well as on the Johannesburg stock exchange, operates 88 stores in SA.
“Exiting the South African market is the appropriate strategic decision for the company,” it said in a statement after completing a strategic review of its business. “Choppies has commenced a process which may result in the divestment of Choppies Supermarkets SA (Pty) Ltd in whole or in part.”
Choppies, which operates in eight African countries, saw its shares plunge by more than 60% last September after announcing a delay to the publication of its financial statements.
The results were delayed after the company’s external auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) raised concerns with the board about the audit for the year ended June 30, 2018.
SA’s economy is struggling for momentum. Although retail sales rose in June, data last week showed, the economy shrank in the first quarter, and data in July showed unemployment at its highest in over a decade.