Why Pepkor gave up on Zimbabwe (where it once had 200 stores) after decades

Pepkor (formerly known as Steinhoff Africa Retail) headlines and stats:

  • Headline earnings per share for the year to 30 September 2019 was up 16.7% (to 98.3 cents)

  • Revenue up 9% (to R69.6 billion)

  • Operating profit up 12% (to R7.2 billion)

  • Dividend of 20.9 cents per share declared

  • Employs 56 100 people

  • Pepkor is South Africa’s largest non-grocery retailer.

  • It claims that 96.5% of items in its stores are cheaper than anywhere else

  • The retailer has closed its stores in Zimbabwe (where it once had 200) after a 20-year presence
Picture: Pepkor.co.za

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield asked Leon Lourens, CEO at Pepkor, to talk about his company’s results.

We’ve been holding out for as long as we could [in Zimbabwe], but the macro-economics in the country forced us… We decided to call it a day… Last year’s loss was due to the currency devaluating. It’s just become too unpredictable… Zimbabwe has become unmanageable for us…

Leon Lourens, CEO - Pepkor

Steinhoff is still a 71% shareholder [in Pepkor] … very little influence over our operations…

Leon Lourens, CEO - Pepkor

It’s our purpose as a business to improve our customers’ lives… We can control our supply chain and buying. We focus on that to provide our customers with affordable products. And hopefully, that will help them in some way during these tough economic times.

Leon Lourens, CEO - Pepkor

Money transfers are selling very well… There’s a 40% growth in financial services transactions in our business.

Leon Lourens, CEO - Pepkor

Listen to the interview in the audio below.

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