Shoprite puts Nigerian expansion plans on ice

Having opened its 25th Nigerian store just a few months ago, Africa’s largest grocery retail chain has revealed that it will not be opening any more outlets in the country for the time being.

According to Shoprite CEO Pieter Engelbrecht, “We had to impair four loss-making stores in Nigeria … we have slowed down in terms of our expansion, until we get better clarity in terms of banned products and foreign exchange fluctuations.” He added that the chain’s Nigerian supermarkets were currently only carrying “half of our ranges because of the products banned.” The products affected by import bans include rice, flour and frozen meat.

There are two main factors behind these restrictions on imports – a shortage of foreign currency and a desire to boost domestic food production. But with domestic production unable to meet demand, smuggling is flourishing and the prices of staple foods are rising, according to local media reports.

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