Shoprite on a mission to help cash-strapped consumers with thousands of under-R5 buys

More than 13 000 of Shoprite's products are selling at lower prices than they were last year, the Shoprite Group [JSE:SHP] said on Wednesday.

In a statement, the group also said it had more than 1 000 products selling at R5 or less.

According to the retailer, it is subsidising staple products at a cost of R190m.

The subsidised products include bread. Shoprite is subsidising its 600g in-house bakery bread, which costs R4.99 – the same price as in April 2016, when the retailer first started its bread subsidy.

Since then, it has sold 110 million loaves of bread, subsidised to the value of some R67m and absorbing any input cost increases, the retailer said.

Other low-cost items in stores include a range of bakery, deli, fruit and veg items as well as grocery products, Shoprite said. "A chicken hotdog, a fried egg and tomato sandwich or soup and an igwinya (vetkoek) are all available for under R5 at Shoprite delis."

Shoprite also said it was running a hunger relief programme consisting mobile soup kitchens, which served more than 1.8 million meals to communities in need in the past year.

It donated R99.5m in surplus food and the group escalated its support of sustainable food gardens, training hundreds of community members to grow and maintain these gardens.

Pinching pockets

The cost-relief efforts come as South African consumers battle increasing strain on their pockets, including multiple fuel price hikes and a VAT increase from 14% to 15%.

Fin24 previously reported on increases in fuel, meat, alcohol, water and other beverage prices.

The cost of education, books and stationery and even insurance also increased over the past year.

However, fruit as well as bread and cereals have decreased in price, with bread and cereals costing 3.7% less on average than a year ago, and fruit costing 2.9% less. Consumers pay 10% less for bananas and oranges than they did a year ago.

VAT

A panel appointed by Treasury recently suggested that VAT should be dropped on white bread and flour; sanitary pads; school uniforms; and nappies.

The panel was appointed to propose ways to soften the blow of the hike in VAT this year to 15%. City Press reported earlier that the panel acknowledged that its recommendations would cost the fiscus about R4bn in tax revenue of which R2.8bn would be a tax break for the poorest 70% of SA households.

An extra tax burden of R3.1bn is imposed on the poor due to the higher VAT rate this year, according to the panel’s calculations.The panel did not say anything about chicken, an item high on the list of public surveys of items consumers would like to see zero VAT rated.

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