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Game Stores follows Shoprite, exits Ugandan market

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA: Game Stores Super-market a subsidiary of South African retail giant Massmart that operates in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania has revealed plans to exit the East African market joining its counterpart Shoprite that announced its exit from the market last month.

The Johannesburg-based supermarket store announced yesterday it had put up 14 Game stores in East and West Africa for sale, citing a need to focus on its “core strengths” as the group’s losses narrowed during the half-year ended June 2021.

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Massmart CEO Mitchell Slape said the chain had begun a formal sales process to divest in five Game Stores in Nigeria, four in Ghana, three in Kenya, one in Uganda, one in Tanzania.

“We’ve reached the conclusion that the performance and complexity in running 14 stores in five markets in the East and West Africa is something that we needed to address,” said Slape during the group’s virtual financial results presentation on Friday.

“But that is not enough. Achieving break-even performance isn’t going to be sufficient for us to be satisfied, we’ve got to really get Game back to a healthy level of profitability and performance,” he added.

The exit plan ends a five-year stint for the Sandton-based retailer in Kenya and further extends the poor run by South African retailers and firms who have faced headwinds trying to crack the local market.

Mr Slape said the company was in advanced discussions with potential purchasers to take over its Game stores in Kenya, adding that the country alongside other regional markets remains a difficult business environment.

Game is a promotionally driven discount retailer of predominantly general merchandise and non-perishable groceries for home, leisure and business use. Some Game Stores also stock a select range of fresh food, including fruit and vegetables, pre-packed meats and pre-baked goods.

Opened in Uganda in 2004, Game operates in 12 African countries including South Africa, Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Game stores joins its peer Shoprite Holdings SHPJ.J which confirmed last month that it was pulling out of the Ugandan market as Covid-19 impact continues to bite harder foreign owned companies in Uganda

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