Shoprite’s Wiese chairs his last AGM

Christo Wiese chairs his 40th and final Shoprite AGM as the group realises outstanding results.

After 40 years at the helm Shoprite Holdings group chair Christo Wiese has chaired his last AGM. Held on 16 November, the meeting was a virtual event during which shareholders submitted written questions. 

Absa Group chairwoman Wendy Lucas-Bull assumed the role of chair after the AGM, and next year Christo will be sitting in as an ‘ordinary’ director. Christo praised what he described as “outstanding results” achieved by the group during “the most difficult of times”.

In an operational update released ahead of the AGM, management reported a three percent increase in sales in the three months to end-September compared with the three months to end-September 2019. If South African liquor shops are excluded, the rate of increase doubles to six percent, reflecting the notable impact of the Covid-19 lockdown regulations on the group’s liquor business, which was forced to remain closed for 60 of the 91 days.

Shoprite’s South African-based supermarkets, excluding the liquor stores, were the highlight of the performance with a sales advance of 7.2 percent. The furniture stores generated an impressive 20.6 percent increase in sales.

Outside South Africa, Zambia did particularly well, but its contribution was eroded by currency devaluation. Angola’s “admirable” performance was also eroded by unfavourable currency movements.

The update stated that Shoprite hoped to confirm the conclusion of its sale of its Nigerian and Kenyan businesses in the second half of the year.

As he brought his final AGM to a close, Wiese told shareholders that despite all the difficulties in South Africa and Africa right now the group is very optimistic about the way forward. He added that as far as the board is concerned it is clear that the new chair indicates Shoprite’s commitment to diversity.

Christo said several extremely exciting and interesting opportunities had been identified and the board hopes to achieve some results with these in the year ahead. He added that the board is looking at other changes, but thought it would be prudent, given the difficult year, to pause before implementing them.