Over 100 Mr Price stores 'entirely looted' during unrest

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Mr Price says it had to temporarily close a further 539 stores due to the unrest (Supplied - Mr Price Group)
Mr Price says it had to temporarily close a further 539 stores due to the unrest (Supplied - Mr Price Group)
Mr Price Group
  • A total of 109 or about 7% of Mr Price Group's stores have been entirely looted during ongoing unrest.
  • Mr Price is assessing damage and believes physical losses could be covered by Sasria, though payouts could be delayed.
  • The retail group, headquartered in Durban, says the unrest mainly impacted operations in KwaZulu-Natal.

A total of 109 or about 7% of Mr Price Group's stores have been entirely looted due to ongoing unrest, with hundreds more having to close their doors temporarily.

The retail group, headquartered in Durban, on Wednesday issued a shareholder update on the impact of civil unrest on its business.

"To date, 109 [approximately 7%] of the group's 1 592 stores have been entirely looted. In addition, the group has had to temporarily close a further 539 stores across its six divisions.

"Most of the impact is in KwaZulu-Natal, with store looting subsiding over the last 24 hours," the shareholder notice read.

The group is conducting an assessment of damage caused to stores - and is quantifying the losses to be recovered by insurance policies. It is also confident that its physical losses will be covered by the South African Special Risks Insurance Association (Sasria), which specifically provides cover for losses due to riots and unrest.

However, it raised concerns that payouts may be delayed.

"… [T]he group is aware of the potential risks of claims payouts being delayed and possibly impaired due to the high volumes and values expected to be submitted by numerous impacted businesses," the update read.

Mr Price Group said that its other priorities during this time include ensuring the continuity of stock flow to unaffected areas, as well as the speedy restoration of trade in damaged stores.

"The pace at which this can be done will be dependent upon the extent of the damages and external bottlenecks elsewhere in the supply chain including the Durban port, logistics and distribution operations, and the ability of local suppliers to continue production," it said. 

Reuters has reported that the Durban port suffered major disruption due to the unrest. The Richards Bay port and national freight rail line has also been affected.

The National Clothing Retail Federation, which represents Mr Price and other retailers, has made a plea to government "to take more decisive action".

This includes increasing the level of security personnel in KwaZulu-Natal to ensure conditions are not worsened.

Government has deployed 5 000 members of the South African National Defence Force in a bid to quell the unrest, News24 reported.

A number of businesses have been affected by the riots, which have escalated from protests that erupted last week due to former president Jacob Zuma's incarceration.

Building material retailer Cashbuild on Wednesday said that 36 or 11% of its stores had been damaged and looted.

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