March 19, 2020 / 6:43 AM / 16 days ago

UPDATE 1-South Africa's Massmart to close non-performing stores

(Adds details on job losses, background)

JOHANNESBURG, March 19 (Reuters) - South African retailer Massmart said on Thursday it had decided to close all of its non-performing stores, as cash-strapped consumers battle with high unemployment, modest wage increases and higher average fuel and utility prices.

Massmart, majority-owned by Walmart, said management will close trading at 23 Dion Wired Stores on March 19 and will decide whether to cease trading at 11 Masscash stores.

The company said it would continue talks with labour unions on measures to mitigate job losses and look at moving affected workers into vacant roles in other stores “where practical and reasonable”.

In the year ended Dec. 31, Massmart’s mass discounters division, which comprises hi-tech retailer Dion Wired and general merchandise and food retailer Game, fell to an annual trading loss of 674.6 million rand from a profit of 32.6 million rand hurt by lower consumer spending on electronics. (Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg and Nqobile Dludla; editing by Shri Navaratnam and Jason Neely)

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