SPAR retailers in South Africa that have been affected by recent civil unrest and looting have "expressed a firm commitment to start again", Brett Botten, SPAR Group chief executive has said.
The retailer issued an update on the current state of its business as of 22 July, noting the extent of the impact on its operations in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and parts of Gauteng.
It said that 38 of the looted stores have been cleaned, restocked and reopened, while 112 stores remain closed as repair and cleanup operations continue.
Its KZN distribution centre was set to be 'fully operational' as of 25 July, while the group's central office and all distribution facilities in the affected areas 'remain secure and are undamaged'.
Financial Support For Retailers
The group has announced a short-term bridging finance scheme to support retailers affected by the unrest. It also said that at wholesale level, it is 'adequately covered' from an insurance perspective, and is engaging with its retailers to provide necessary assistance with their insurance claims.
At first count, SPAR said that 184 stores across its estate, including 62 TOPS liquor stores and 31 Build It stores, were affected by the unrest, reporting varying degrees of looting and damage.
“Despite the loss of business caused by the recent civil unrest, the SPAR retailers have expressed a firm commitment to start again," Botten said. "This speaks to the resilience and entrepreneurial spirit of SPAR’s retailers, who are intensely aware of the role they play within their communities.
"We are understandably concerned about the impact on our communities and our country and for this reason SPAR has resolute desire to rebuild and help lessen the extent of the damage and devastation caused within our communities."
Shoprite Distributes Hampers
Elsewhere, fellow South African operator Shoprite has announced it is distributing thousands of hampers to various charities, as they seek to offer support to households affected by the unrest.
The group donated 1,774 hampers to CityHope Disaster Relief in Durban, 1,000 hampers to King Misuzulu Ka Zwelithini, for distribution in Nongoma, and has arranged for a further 1,500 hampers to be transported to Durban, for distribution to people in need.
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