Medical staff set up beds as they prepare to accept patients displaying mild symptoms of novel coronavirus infection in Wuhan. (Getty)
  • Shoprite's imports from China are being hit by the manufacturing and shipping delays due to the novel coronavirus – and it could cost the company R100 million in turnover.
  • Shipments of blankets and heaters are most affected.
  • China is South Africa's most important source of imports; 16% of all South African imports come from China.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider's home page.


Shoprite is at risk of losing about R100 million in sales as the novel coronavirus disrupts imports of winter products from China.

A spokesperson told Business Insider South Africa that, while the company is not foreseeing a “material impact on its operations”, turnover of R100 million is at stake due to product orders from China being delayed by measures associated with attempts to control the Covid-19 virus. 

“Mainly shipments with winter products such as heaters and electrical blankets are affected,” a spokesperson said.

Shoprite continues to monitor the situation and remains in daily contact with factories and suppliers.

See also: Checkers has a ‘secret’ online shop that’s up to 40% cheaper than its other stores - but there are a few catches

“Where needed, contingency plans have been put in place to mitigate the order delays and cancellations, including switching the source of supply to other countries like Bangladesh, Ukraine and India,” the spokesperson said. 

The coronavirus outbreak has wreaked havoc on Chinese manufacturing, which has now been severely disrupted for more than a month.

Manufacturing at Chinese factories has stalled since the start of the Chinese new year, on 25 January.

While the factories were supposed to only be closed for four days for that national holiday, government ordered factories to remain shut for the next two weeks as the outbreak of the virus intensified, in quarantine measures were put in place.

The Chinese government then ordered all factories to open again on 10 February, but few have returned to full capacity as many people remain at home to avoid infection.

See also: Take a look: Inside Shoprite's massive warehouse - which operates in near total silence

Apple and other major companies have warned that the manufacturing disruption is hitting product supplies.

Airfreight has also been disrupted as major airlines cancel flights.

Some 16% of South Africa’s imports come from China. China is also SA’s biggest export destination, taking 11% of all of SA exports.

Earlier this week, Shoprite reported sales of R81.2 billion for the half year to 29 December, an increase of 7% from the same period in the previous year.

See also: Shoprite plans smaller stores, closer to shoppers – and more shops in containers

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