It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic national lockdown has hit South African businesses hard. The two-week extension implemented by Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa hasn’t helped one bit. And now it looks like the biggest online retailer in the country, Takealot, is losing-alot.
In an interview with Reuters, Takealot’s chief executive Kim Reid said that the company is planning a loss of at least R350 million. This following the restrictions on what the retailer is allowed to sell. It’s a miracle Takealot was allowed to operate at all, and now it’s getting ready for massive losses.
As you may know, Takealot also owns and operates Mr D food delivery service and Superbalist, the clothing retailer. Both of these businesses may not operate during the lockdown, although we’ve since seen Mr D receive an essential services permit to deliver food. Not cooked food, only raw ingredients. It’s also only available in certain areas with partnered grocery outlets.
Because it is only allowed to sell essential items, Takealot is selling far less than they’d normally do. “Takealot is doing around 15% of the sales we’d normally do,” Reid said to Reuters in the interview.
We may see slacking of some of the restrictions in the coming weeks. And maybe Takealot, Mr D and Superbalist can start service as usual again. We would love to order some freshly cooked food and have it delivered, but understand the consequences of opening food delivery again. Social distancing is going to matter for some time to come. Oh, what we’ll do for a Burger King meal right about now…