Management of Shoprite Stores has explained that conditional sale of sugar that may have been experienced by some customers at its Blantyre store was not sanctioned by management.
Shoprite’s comment follows a story carried by The Daily Times on Thursday that consumers were being forced to buy other items for them to be allowed to buy sugar at Shoprite Chichiri Shopping Mall.
“The purchase of sugar is not conditional and at no time was any instruction issued to the store that the purchase of sugar would be conditional,” South Africa-based Shoprite Communications Manager Sarita Van Wyk told The Daily Times through an e-mailed response on Wednesday.
She admitted, however, that due in the interest of our customers’ safety and convenience, Shoprite Malawi has made the decision to store the sugar at the till points to avoid the “mad scramble” that previously occurred when sugar is merchandised from the receiving area through the store to the sugar shelf.
“Customers can ask for sugar when they get to the till point,” said Van Wyk.
She said due to the current shortage of sugar in Malawi, retailers in the country are allocated a quota per branch per week since January this year.
Van Wyk said the number of 1kg bags per customer is limited depending on the stock level in the store at the time in the interest of fairness in order to allow as many people as possible access to sugar.
Shoprite expects the situation to normalise shortly as soon as the supplier has caught up with its production, said Van Wyk.
A senior manager at the shop said the confusion may have come up because of special tills that the store opened for the sugar sales.
“Due to customer complaints because of the long queues of people just buying 4 packs of sugar, store management decided that they would open two tills for sugar purchases only and the rest of the customers can then shop and pay at the other tills.”
He said it could be customer who went to one of the normal tills with only sugar where cashiers “probably meant to explain that to be able to pay there they must also have other items”.
“The sugar problem is causing huge problems in our stores and maybe the manager should not have opened only the two tills for the sugar,” said the manager.