The plan by JSE-listed retail giant Massmart to expand its popular discount retail chain Game into a fully-fledged food retailer has failed.
Launched just over five years ago as a strategy to take on the more established fresh food supermarket players such as Pick n Pay and Shoprite Group, Walmart-controlled Massmart has now officially abandoned that Game plan.
“The fresh and frozen food sections at our Game stores are already on their way out,” Mitch Slape, Massmart’s new CEO, told Moneyweb during a media roundtable in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
“In fact, the move has already taken place at our Mall of Africa store, making way for more general apparel and merchandise as part of our plan to reset Game,” he added.
It was uncharacteristic of the group to speak to the media just ahead of the official release of its 2019 financial results next week. However, it comes just weeks after the group published a sales update and trading statement pointing to a first-ever group loss of almost R1.4 billion for its 2019 financial year.
The update included details of its new turnaround plan, which encompasses an almost total overhaul of the group, including the planned closure of 34 DionWired and Masscash stores. A new, more streamlined group operating model has been established as part of the turnaround plan, in which Massmart’s four previous divisions and various retail and wholesale operations are now part of just two business units – Massmart Retail and Massmart Wholesale.
Game, Builders Warehouse, DionWired and Cambridge Food are part of the retail unit, while Makro and some of the Masscash operations are part of Massmart Wholesale.