At a press conference this morning, SPAR Zimbabwe Managing Director Terence Yeatman told the media that contrary to rumours circulating on social media since Wednesday, SPAR Zimbabwe is not facing any closures, but will in fact open two new stores soon.
A South African business reporter quoted SPAR South Africa CEO, Graham O’Connor this week, saying that SPAR has ‘pulled out of Zimbabwe’ due to the difficult operating environment. This is true, but refers to SPAR South Africa’s investment in a distribution centre in Harare that they shared with Zimbabwean retail giant Innscor. The local branches of SPAR are either independent, or fall under the privately owned Yellowcob Investments. These businesses were not involved or severely affected by SPAR South Africa’s disinvestment.
“We have been inundated with calls of concern from our more than 700 suppliers and our customers,” said Yeatman – the SPAR Zimbabwe MD to Harare News. “All of these people rely on us for either their business or their shopping, and our customers are loyal, and were really upset and concerned.” Yeatman believes that the worrying situation in Zimbabwe caused many people to interpret the news in the most negative light.
“SPAR is here to stay. In fact, we are opening two new branches, one in Ballantyne Park and the other in Westlea to meet the demand for convenient, cost-friendly shopping. SPAR has been trading in this country for 49 years, and will continue to do so,” said Yeatman. He added that although there has been a slight increase in prices, he is expecting a reasonable Christmas period. “Our pricing is good, and we have the right mix of products to have a successful festive season,” he said.