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Shoprite Invests Millions in Riot Walls to Fortify Distribution Centres

Published September 24, 2023
9 months ago

Leading African retailer, Shoprite Group, has enhanced its security system by investing millions into the construction of 'riot walls' around its distribution centres. As a further step, Shoprite aims to expand its warehouse area from the existing 673,843 square meters covered by its 29 distribution centres, by adding a further 220,000 square meters over the forthcoming year or two.

Shoprite's centralised distribution is a fundamental element of its market competitiveness. This bold centralisation strategy yields lower prices to consumers and has been a well-established advantage in attracting bargain-seeking buyers. The proposed mega expansion will not only aid in meeting consumer demands but will also facilitate enduring growth, increase internal efficiencies, and mitigate potential risks.

The threats retailers face in South Africa were starkly evidenced during the July 2021 unrests. These disturbances brought about business disruptions and stock availability issues, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, resulting in rampant looting and violence that wreaked havoc on retail stores and distribution warehouses. The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa warned that this damage could result in food shortages across the nation.

South Africa's security services' failure to prevent extensive destruction and looting during this period prompted retailers, like Shoprite, to take firm control of their property's security. Shoprite's quick reaction initially saw an upgraded security system featuring electric fences and concertina razor wire. However, the company moved recently to erect concrete 'riot walls' around its distribution centres as an additional safeguard to its critical infrastructure.

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