"I’d like to be the person who takes over from me," Shoprite CEO Pieter Engelbrecht tells the FM two days after releasing a record-breaking set of results for the six months to end-December. Unfortunately for Engelbrecht, the records were all the wrong sort. HSBC said it was the weakest top-line performance since 1980; the adjusted trading profit margin was the weakest since 2006; net gearing almost doubled to its highest level in years; and Africa’s largest grocery retailer suffered what must surely be a record-setting R1bn sales knock due to "stock issues". It would have been hard for even the most imaginative of crisis-management consultants to come up with the list of problems behind the truly dismal results. Officially, the four issues highlighted by management were: introduction of an enterprise-wide IT system; industrial action at its largest distribution centre; huge currency devaluation in Angola; and the longest period of stagnant internal inflation in a decade. There was ...

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