Makro and Game owner sells Cambridge Food to focus on core business

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A Game store on January 13, 2020 in Johannesburg. South Africa.
A Game store on January 13, 2020 in Johannesburg. South Africa.
Gallo Images/Papi Morake

Makro and Game owner, Massmart, says the group will reduce exposure to non-core assets and sell its interests in Cambridge Food, Rhino and Massfresh.

The Walmart-owned retailer said it will also conduct a detailed review of store performance and associated support costs in market geographies outside the South African Development Community.

Massmart - which owns Game, Makro and Builders Warehouse - said as part of its turnaround plan to stabilise performance it was closing tech chain DionWired and 11 Masscash stores in January 2020.

A year later the group announced that it has successfully delivered more than 30 turnaround projects that have delivered R600 million in total expense savings, contributed to margin uplift and significantly improved overall effectiveness.

The group said it has disposed of 23 DionWired stores; disposed of underperforming Masscash stores; exited fresh food and launched clothing in Game, as some of the projects completed in its turnaround plan.

Total retrenchment costs incurred amounted to approximately R132.5 million, the group said. This was related with the closure of DionWired.

The retailer said on Monday sales impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic declined by 7.7% to R86.5 billion for the 52-weeks ended 27 December 2020.

Perhaps a silver lining, online sales grew 58.6% and delivered R1.1 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) across all Massmart trading banners.

Online growth at Builders Warehouse grew by 111%, followed by Game at 77% and Makro at 40%. Overall online participation was 1.8% of sales.

"We expect the uncertain operating environment, constrained consumer financial health position and negatively impacted economy related to the Covid-19 pandemic to persist. While trade in all our categories is currently permitted, the imposition of new restrictions remain uncertain," said the group in a statement.

No final dividend has been declared due to a headline loss of R0.9 billion and the need to preserve cash, as a result of the uncertain economic outlook.

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