Business

Mandela funeral closure cost Shoprite about R260m

Sapa

Shoprite has reportedly lost millions when it closed its doors on December 15 as a sign of respect following the passing of president Nelson Mandela.

Many retailers shut it doors on the day of the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela. (Reuters)

It cost Shoprite an estimated R260-million to close its stores on the day of former president Nelson Mandela's funeral, the New Age reported on Monday.

Shoprite said in a trading statement: "Christmas trading for the month of December was impacted by the closure of all RSA stores on December 15 as a mark of respect following the passing of former president Nelson Mandela.

"It is estimated that should these stores have traded on the day, sales of some R260-million would have been generated, impacting turnover growth for the period by 0.7%."

Massmart recently reported that it had lost about R200-million when it closed its stores.

Many retailers shut it doors on the day of the funeral, while Pick n Pay opted to stay open but donate the profits to charity.

Boycott of Pick n Pay
"This initiative is a very positive one, and both pays tribute to Nelson Mandela and will benefit those whom he held closest to his heart," Pick n Pay?'s human resources director Isaac Motaung said on December 14.

"We held discussions with our staff at store and support office levels, and also with our customers."

The Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA) and the South African Commercial, Catering, and Allied Workers' Union at the time called for a boycott of Pick n Pay because the retailer would not close on December 15.

"We are disappointed that Pick n Pay has not heeded the call not to trade tomorrow [December 15] in honour of the late president Nelson Mandela," YCLSA spokesperson Khaya Xaba said.

"Pick n Pay is choosing profit over mourning this gallant hero of our liberation struggle."

Pick n Pay chief executive Richard Brasher said the retailer considered closing its doors the day of Mandela's funeral, but it believed a more practical and tangible way of benefiting people's lives was donating the profits.

"It is entirely understandable that some staff may wish not to work on Sunday [December 15]. I respect that choice, and they will be entirely free to choose not to work. Pick n Pay stores on Sunday will be manned only by staff who have chosen to volunteer to work," said Brasher. – Sapa

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