When Pieter Engelbrecht was appointed CEO of Africa's biggest grocer more than two years ago, he had mighty big shoes to fill. The outgoing Shoprite CEO, Whitey Basson, at the helm for almost 40 years, had been heralded as a retailing genius. Basson established and led the company from 1979, grew it from eight stores and expanded its footprint into major economies on the African continent. The chain now has more than 2,840 stores in 14 countries. Taking over from a legend was never going to be an easy task for Engelbrecht, Basson's former personal assistant for a number of years. His task was made all the more difficult by unfavourable economic environments in the various geographies in which Shoprite operates. Since peaking last March, Shoprite's shares are about 33% weaker. Last year, the retailer reported a decline in earnings for the first time in 18 years. It has had to deal with a strike that has hampered sales. Against a strong US dollar, there's been heightened volatility in...

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