Game still open, discussing with potential investors

Monday September 20 2021
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Game Stores in Kampala continues to operate pending the final decision of the ongoing review. PHOTO | STEPHEN OTAGE

By Dorothy Nakaweesi

Massmart, the operators of Game Stores in Uganda, has said it is reviewing the idea of engaging investors who have a better understanding of the local market conditions including customer needs and local supply opportunities. 

In an emailed statement at the weekend, Ms Michelle Kemp, the Game RSA JHB Senior manager communications - marketing, told Daily Monitor that in March, Massmart, which operates several subsidiaries across Africa, started on a project in which it sought to “review the performance of our store(s) in East and West Africa, with the objective of understanding how best to ensure ongoing profitability”. 

This, she said, would include an opportunity to review the idea to improve the store’s performance under the management of investors and entrepreneurs who have a better understanding of local and or regional market conditions”. 

“The review project has therefore, and continues to involve, among other things, identifying and meeting with interested local and regional investors, and entrepreneurs who could be better able to ensure the sustainable profitability of the affected stores,” Ms Kemp said, noting that Massmart had “not yet taken a final decision, although we are approaching the final stages of this project”.

Early last week, we had wrongfully reported that Game Stores had closed its outlet in Lugogo, Kampala, which at the time of reporting was undergoing routine maintaince and stocktaking. 

In East Africa, Massmart operates one store in Uganda, three in Kenya and one in Tanzania.

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Game Stores has been operating in Uganda for close to 20 years, employing more than 300 Ugandans.

In her email, Ms Kemp also noted that any decision resulting from the ongoing review would “be guided by our commitment to diligently honour our responsibilities to our employees, customers, suppliers, business partners and broader country stakeholders”. 

“This will include pro-actively engaging with business partners and country stakeholders that might be impacted by a final decision,” she said, noting that Massmart, the parent company of Game Stores, was still operating all the affected outlets as reviews about their performance and profitability goes on.

However, Ms Kemp did not give details of when the reviews are expected to be complete for both East and West African subsidiaries. 

Massmart is Africa’s third-largest distributor of consumer goods and one of the biggest retailers of general merchandise, liquor, home improvement equipment and supplies and wholesaler of basic foods.

The retail business has been undergoing a number of challenges in the last two years, worsened by Covid-19 related lockdowns and disruptions. 

A number of large retail stores have in the process been starved of traffic, which is a key aspect in the supermarket space, thus posting shrinking sales and decline in bottom lines. 

However, many of them have leveraged on the growing digital experience to invest in online trading and building partnerships with the likes of Jumia . 

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