More than half of Tops' looted liquor stores ready to trade when sales ban lifts

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More than half of its looted Tops liquor stores are ready to trade as soon as government lifts the alcohol ban, Spar said on Friday. 

Spar retailers have begun cleaning and restocking after looting and unrest that caused damage to a number of stores in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. As many as 184 Spar stores, including 62 Tops liquor stores and 31 Build It stores, were looted and damaged during the riots.

In addition to 34 Tops stores that are ready to trade once they are allowed to do so, another 38 stores have been reopened, Spar said.

However, 112 stores - representing less than 5% of the total network - remain closed, with the group saying it is experiencing delays in reopening due to the extent of the damage caused. 

The Durban-headquartered group also said there have been difficulties getting stock of certain products due to damage caused to supplier facilities and warehouses. 

Spar said it has distribution centres in neighbouring provinces that are distributing to retailers in parts of KwaZulu-Natal until the local facility is fully operational again. Supplier-inbound deliveries are expected to be fully operational by Sunday. The group told shareholders that at wholesale level, asset damage, stock and business interruption.

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