Africa’s biggest grocery retailer, ShopRite, has hinted an exit in its operations in Nigeria. In 2005, the retail brand bought its way to many Nigerian homes with a promise of ease shopping and at a discounted price.
The retail group, which announced a 6.4 per cent increase (R156.9billion) in total sales of merchandise for the outgoing year despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, announced that it took the decision to discontinue its Nigeria operation “following approaches from various potential investors, and in line with our re-evaluation of the group’s operating model in Nigeria.”
The Board of Africa's biggest retailer, Shoprite, has announced plans to discontinue operations in Nigeria after 15 years in. While this may open up opportunities for local investors in that sector, it is a bad pointer to what Nigeria has become as an investment destination. pic.twitter.com/GYTTIrHrmM
— Ayò Bánkólé (@AyoBankole) August 3, 2020
ShopRite, however, is not the first retail outlet to pull out of Nigeria in recent times. Mr Price, Leventis, Kingsway Stores, Vlisco, and a host of other foreign retail brand had over the years taken a bow in the Nigerian business and market space. In recent times, firms like Mr Price blamed their exit on the ripple effects of the pandemic in business. But for other firms which exited before the pandemic, the one thing they had expressed is how difficult’it is to work and do business in the Nigerian business space.
For ShopRite, their reasons for exiting the retail space may be attributed to the same as Mr Price. However, that is not the case – the retail firm recorded a 6.4 per cent increase (R156.9billion) in total sales of merchandise for the outgoing year which ended in June 28th. So what exactly is making this giant retail brand take a bow in Nigeria?
The exit of Shoprite from Nigeria should tell you what you need to know about the "size of the Nigerian consumer market" and the economic incompetence of the present administration.
Anyway, Leventis & Kingsway Stores suffered the same fate under a previous Buhari Administration.
— Onye Nkuzi (@cchukudebelu) August 3, 2020
For many, government policies may have played a major role for the retail brand to reach the conclusion even though the statements released didn’t readily suggest that government policies informed the decision to exit Nigeria.
So shoprite is leaving Nigeria,thousands of people will be without jobs now,other thousands depending on those people’s incomes,my new neighbor works with shoprite in Ibadan&he has 3kids,his wife is a private school teacher and haven’t worked in a while,so many people like that?♂️
— Oyindamola? (@dammiedammie35) August 3, 2020
The news, however sparked a conversation on Twitter over the effect of ShopRite exiting Nigeria. Many shared their concerns on the fact that many people will be rendered jobless if the brand successfully pulls out of Nigeria. Others shared their interest on what the government may have done or needs to do to prevent the ultimate effect of the retail store leaving Nigeria, which is unemployment.
Unemployment rates skyrocket yearly, and with no meaningful jobs to engage young people, they turn towards crime and become mercenaries to politically perpetuate self-serving mayhem and chaos. These young people are also breadwinners of homes, and with no jobs to feed families, the situation devolves into food insecurity.
ShopRite is responsible for an ample number of employed Nigerians across regions, and their exit of the brand will not only worsen the everlasting issue of unemployment, but will also affect Nigerian in some world business ratings. It’s also an indicator that Nigeria is one of the least favourable places for investors, as we have seen with the departure of transport services like Gokada.
Although Nigerians are calling for the government to set measures in to prevent this demise, some are also debating that the exit of these international brands from Nigeria should be a wake up call for Nigerians to invest in their creativity and business prowess.
Michael is a dynamic writer who is still exploring the nuances of life and being human. When I’m not writing, I’m out with friends or spending nice time alone watching movies or TV Shows.
Michael is available on Twitter and Instagram @TheMichaelFaya