South African retailer and wholesaler Spar Group has closed its distribution centre in Zimbabwe due to weak economic growth and will now supply independent stores from South Africa, the firm’s chief executive said on Wednesday.
“The economy was just too tough… payment issues, infrastructure issues, so it was better that we exited,” Spar Group Chief Executive Graham O’Connor told Reuters.
Sacked former Zanu PF top man and Businessman Ray Kaukonde in 2011 took over control of the Western Region SPAR Distribution Centre (Western Guild) through his investment vehicle, Scotia Holdings, from ZSE-listed starafricacorporation limited, which held the Spar licence through Advance Wholesalers.
Advance Wholesalers held the Spar Zimbabwe license jointly with Spar Harare (Private) Limited, a unit controlled by Innscor Africa Limited, a fast moving consumer goods integrated chain with operations both in Zimbabwe and the region. Kaukonde is a former chairman of Innscor.
Innscor at its recent analyst briefing mentioned they had purchased the Spar franchise licence but did not disclose further details save to say that it consisted of 23 outlets and that it would bring the total Spar stores to 72 outlets.
Kaukonde later sold SPAR to Conglomerate Innscor Africa Limited in January this year .
“Kaukonde alongside exiled James Makamba brought the franchise to Zimbabwe and since the victimization started, he has been closing his shops one after another”, said a Harare based analyst .
- The Zimbabwe News Live