Multinational retail store company Spar is still determining the full extent of damages caused by recent civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng.
So far, the group’s central office and all distribution facilities in the affected areas remain secure and are undamaged, the group confirmed on July 23.
The distribution centre in KwaZulu-Natal will be fully operational by July 25, and 38 looted stores have been cleaned, restocked and reopened.
At first count, 184 stores, including 62 Tops liquor stores and 31 Build it stores, reported varying degrees of looting and damage.
Meanwhile, 34 Tops liquor stores are ready to trade but will remain closed owing to Covid-19-related alcohol sale restrictions.
A further 112 stores remain closed for repairs and clean-up operations. This represents less than 5% of Spar’s store network across Southern Africa.
The group is confident that most of these stores will reopen in the short term, but it stated that “a few will be delayed for longer” owing to the extent of damage caused.
A total of eight corporate stores are included in the number of stores looted that remain closed. Four of these stores are Tops liquor stores.
At the wholesale level, the group is adequately covered for asset damage, stock and business interruption. Work has already started with insurers and loss adjustors to prepare the necessary insurance claims as soon as possible, Spar said.
Spar is also engaging with all the retailers impacted by the looting and unrest to provide any necessary assistance with their insurance claims. All affected retailers have the necessary South African Special Risk Insurance Association cover in place to ensure a full recovery.
Spar CEO Brett Botten lamented the loss of business caused by the civil unrest.
“Spar retailers have expressed a firm commitment to start again. This speaks to the resilience and entrepreneurial spirit of Spar’s retailers, who are intensely aware of the role they play within their communities,” he said.
Botten expressed concern about the impact on communities and the country and, for this reason, said Spar has a “resolute desire to rebuild and help lessen the extent of the damage and devastation caused within our communities”.