Retailers News South Africa

Current load shedding situation "untenable" - Mr Price chairman

Mr Price Group said in its latest trading update that South Africa's GDP recovery prospects have been severely impacted by excessive load shedding, placing strain on both businesses and households, and negatively impacting confidence levels.
Source: Mr Price Group
Source: Mr Price Group

Load shedding levels are anticipated to worsen in the fourth quarter of this year, which will continue to burden business effectiveness, the company noted.

Last week, Mr Price Group achieved the highest Q3 sales level in the group's history, having recorded growth in retail sales and other income of 34.0% to R12.4bn. The company said this growth was supported by its acquisition of Studio 88 Group.

Backup power supply

All the group's recently acquired businesses – Studio 88, Power Fashion and Yuppiechef – achieved double-digit sales growth over the period, but Mr Price noted that these divisions had a higher proportion of stores with backup power supply than the rest of the group’s retail chains.

The retail group's management has plans to "significantly accelerate" the rollout of backup power across its existing chains and is on track to reach its target of backup power in 70% of the group’s South African stores by the end of the 2023 financial year and 100% "as soon as possible thereafter".

However, the group noted that this protection is adequate to a certain threshold of load shedding, but due to recent intensity levels the rollout plan is under review.

Mr Price Group chairman Nigel Payne commented, “It is critical for government to communicate its official and detailed plan for the solution to the energy crisis in South Africa, in order to protect and grow the economy and for business to plan accordingly. The current situation is untenable, and government needs to take decisive action and to be held accountable for implementation.”

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