For a week or so, it seemed the more the market thought about Shoprite’s frail financial results for the year to June, the less it liked them. Who can blame it? An unexpected spike in debt to R11.6bn from less than R4bn a year ago and a 20% slump in earnings is the sort of combo that makes investors panic.

But, as the share price hurtled towards R110 a share last week, analysts were trying to remember why they ever thought Shoprite could have been worth north of R250 anyway. As recently as March 2018, Shoprite hit a record high of R274.85.

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