Shoprite, a popular South-African-owned retail chain, lays claim to offering variety of food products, household goods, and small appliances at “lowest possible prices.”
By Omono Okonkwo
On its website, fliers and other advertising products, the store likes to underline low, lower or lowest prices as its unique selling point.
But, is this always true? Not exactly.
PREMIUM TIMES’ checks in some local markets in Abuja showed that some goods are actually cheaper in those markets than in Shoprite.
The store, which is hugely popular in South Africa, opened its first Nigerian outlet in Lagos, the country’s commercial capital, in December 2005 and has gone on to open additional 17 stores in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, and seven other states.
The business, owned by Christoffel Wiese, a South African billionaire, has taken over the Nigerian retail market, making a killing off the country’s populace, who flock to its outlets to purchase both food and household items, often ignoring local markets closest to them.
A lot of Nigerians believe Shoprite prices are the lowest when it comes to groceries and household goods.
PREMIUM TIMES’ Business Review wanted to check whether this is true. So, on Wednesday, July 13 and on Friday, July 15, 2016, we hit the road, visiting the Shoprite outlet in the Central Business District (close to Sheraton Hotels), Nyanya main market, about 20 minutes from the city centre, and Wuse market in the centre of the city.We randomly chose 30 goods and compared prices in Shoprite and in the two Abuja markets. The differences are clear – Shoprite prices are higher than those of retailers in the two other markets we visited.
We also observe a trick by Shoprite. Its prices are never in whole numbers, always one kobo less. For instance Titus Sardine goes for N199.99, leaving a change of one kobo for the buyer. That one kobo is useless, as it cannot be used for any other purchase. Due to inflation and the dwindling value of the naira, coins have lost their relevance in the Nigerian marketplace.
See table for comparison of prices:
[table id=1 /]