Shoprite improves protection against riots and unrest

The Shoprite Group has invested millions in “riot walls” around its distribution centres as an additional security measure.

Shoprite is expanding its distribution centre space – 29 distribution centres covering 673,843 square meters – by an additional 220,000 square meters over the next year or two.

The retailer said its centralised distribution provides a major competitive advantage and is key to delivering low prices to consumers.

This sizeable expansion project aims to improve service to customers, facilitate sustained growth, drive efficiencies, and mitigate risk.

The risks to retailers in South Africa include business disruptions and stock availability issues, which were highlighted during the July 2021 unrests.

The unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng was the worst violence that South Africa had experienced since the end of Apartheid.

It was characterised by widespread looting and violence, which caused enormous damage to retail stores and distribution warehouses.

The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa warned that the looting and damage caused to warehouses and distribution centres would lead to food shortages.

By 14 July 2021, the effect of the looting and vandalism started to appear with long queues outside grocery stores and a shortage of many products.

The inability of South Africa’s security services to act against the looting and violence and prevent widespread destruction was a wake-up call for many retailers.

These companies realised that it was up to them to protect their properties – especially their distribution centres where large amounts of products are stored.

Shoprite was quick to act and initially upgraded security around its distribution centres with electric fencing and concertina razor wire.

It is now upgrading its distribution centre security with concrete “riot walls” as an additional security measure to protect this key infrastructure.

The photos below show the new concrete walls around the Shoprite and Checkers distribution centre in Centurion.

Old protection

New concrete riot all