Botswanan retailer Choppies plans to exit South Africa market

As the country's economy struggles to gain momentum.

Botswanan budget retailer Choppies Enterprises said on Wednesday it planned to sell its stores in South Africa as economic growth slows in Africa’s most advanced economy. It has been four years since Chippies expanded into South Africa.

The company, whose stock is currently suspended from trading on its primary bourse in Botswana as well as on the Johannesburg stock exchange, operates 88 stores in South Africa.

“Exiting the South African market is the appropriate strategic decision for the company,” it said in a statement after completing a strategic review of its business.

“Choppies has commenced a process which may result in the divestment of Choppies Supermarkets SA (Pty) Ltd in whole or in part.”

Choppies, which operates in eight African countries, saw its shares plunge by more than 60 percent last September after announcing a delay to the publication of its financial statements.

The results were delayed after the company’s external auditors PwC raised concerns with the board in respect of the audit for the year ended June 30, 2018. Choppies also stated that Festus Mogae would be stepping down as chair and director after the company's Annual General Meeting, due later this year.

The company in May announced the suspension of its CEO, Ramachandran Ottapathu, amid a forensic probe into the company’s business dealings. A summary of the investigation conducted by PwC established a number of irregularities inventory records and bulk sales.