Supermarket chain Pick n Pay (PnP) is planning to reopen up to 58 of its PnP and Boxer stores by the end of next week.
This follows the recent violent protests in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal that resulted in 136 of PnP’s food, grocery, clothing and building stores being looted or damaged, along with 76 liquor stores.
Two PnP distribution centres in KwaZulu-Natal were also badly damaged, CEO Pieter Boone said, describing the scale and nature of the destruction as “heart breaking”.
Boone is, however, inspired by the progress made by PnP and Boxer teams in cleaning up, rebuilding and restocking the stores and getting them ready to welcome customers again.
“The progress since I was here last week is massive. Every day, our teams are accelerating their progress and shortening their timescales,” he commented, adding that PnP would soon have a fully restored supply chain network.
“Speaking to franchisees and independent traders in the affected areas, I firmly believe that it is time now for President Cyril Ramaphosa to announce a lifting of the ban on liquor sales. We have hopefully passed the peak of the Covid-19 third wave,” Boone said.
“In normal times, many independent shopkeepers depend on responsible liquor sales to sustain their businesses and will not survive another prolonged ban. The social unrest, looting and damage has dealt them a further blow – as well as releasing a large amount of looted liquor into the illicit market,” he explained.
Lifting the ban would be widely welcomed across the country as a positive and responsible step forward in South Africa’s recovery from the events of last week, Boone believes.
By the end of next week, PnP plans to have repaired and be ready to reopen 28 of its 76 severely damaged liquor stores in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.