Mr Price, SA-owned retail firm, set to close shop in Nigeria

Mr Price, SA-owned retail firm, set to close shop in Nigeria

Mr Price Group Ltd., a South African retail company, is reportedly set to fold up its business in Nigeria.

Feelers indicate that the company plans to close its Nigerian business in favour of a stronger focus on its home market of South Africa.

Nigeria is the third country that Mr Price would be exiting in recent times, after Australia and Poland last year.

Bloomberg reports that Mr Price, which specializes in mid-range clothing, sports goods and homeware; has already closed four of its five Nigerian stores. Further, the report states that the company expects to close the last store in the coming months.

This was disclosed by Chief Executive Officer, Mark Blair, in a presentation.

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“We are really going to focus on South Africa in a more concentrated way,” Chief Financial Officer, Mr Price, Mark Stirton said in the same presentation.

Meanwhile, the report suggests that South African companies have long struggled to operate in Nigeria; encountering supply-chain disruptions and challenges in getting funds out of the country. It stated that Woolworths Holdings Ltd., the South African seller of designer clothing and organic food; quit Nigeria in 2013. Also, it disclosed that grocer Shoprite Holdings Ltd. said last year it may close some stores in Nigeria.

However, 1st News can report, on the other hand, that a number of South African-owned businesses have thrived; and continue to thrive in Nigeria. Media giants MultiChoice, operators of the DSTV and GOVT franchise is a good example. Telecoms giant, MTN, is another business which has seen revenues from its Nigerian subsidiary rank as its highest ever. E-commerce company, Jumia, another company which is now largely owned by MTN – a South African business; also has Nigeria as its best performing market.

Mr Price expects a lot of distress among retail peers in South Africa; as it gradually emerges from a lockdown that has devastated the economy, according to the Bloomberg report. It noted that retailers not selling food or medical supplies were closed for five weeks through April.

Further, they were only allowed to fully open at the start of June.

1st News reports that the company, also known as MRP, is a publicly traded retail business.

Information on its website indicates that the group retails apparel, as well as homeware and sportswear; through owned and franchised stores across 14 countries, primarily in Africa.

Bloomberg says Mr Price failed to declare a final dividend and has frozen head-office salaries to conserve cash. In May, it reportedly blazed a trail by announcing plans to sell shares to pursue growth opportunities. Bloomberg discloses that this move was later replicated by its rivals; namely, The Foschini Group Ltd. and Pepkor Holdings Ltd.

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