Down but not out: SPAR’S classy message after looting of Lekki store wins plaudits

Nigeria’s largest chain of hypermarket stores, SPAR, had a classy response to the vandalisation and looting of one of its stores in the commercial hub of Lagos where unrest amid the END-SARS protests provided a cover for hoodlums to ravage private properties.

The retail chain which mainly sells groceries and household items from electronics to furniture shared a video on Twitter of its plundered and vandalised store in the affluent neighbourhood of Lekki.

Rather than throw its hands up in despair, Spar’s response to the loss was full of optimism and support for Nigeria amid what are troubling times for Africa’s most populous nation following the excessive use of force by the military on youths peacefully protesting police brutality and the destruction of public and private property that has since followed.

Here’s what SPAR had to say about its vandalised store.

“Our has been vandalized and looted. But, we acknowledge that this is only a setback compared to the larger issues we are all facing as a nation, and our thoughts and prayers remain with Nigerians everywhere, and for a peaceful resolution to various issues at hand.

“Rebuilding a supermarket is hard. Rebuilding a nation is even harder. We stand with you Nigeria. Stay focused. Be the solution,” SPAR said.

The classy message elicited compassionate messages of love and support by Nigerians. While some said they would mobilise to help clean up the store others pledged to patronise SPAR more than ever before.

“Guys, after the curfew ends, can we mobilize and go help the folks at @Sparnigeria clean up the and surroundings at least, and for free?,” one Ikenna Ronald Nzimora said on Twitter. His tweet got nearly 5,000 likes and 4,000 retweets within hours of being posted on Friday.

SPAR responded to Nzimora’s tweet by saying “True generosity and kindness will always prevail. Even in the hardest times, remember that there are good people in this world, and together we can do amazing things. @ronaldnzimora you’re a gem. Reach out to us and let’s rebuild SPAR for the people, with the people.”

SPAR was not the only retail chain on the receiving end of attacks by hoodlums on private businesses.

At least two of the stores of Shoprite, another retail chain of supermarkets in Nigeria, were also vandalised.

The over 20 stores, including that of Shoprite, within Circle Mall at Jakande, Lekki, were looted and set ablaze. Retail pharmacy chain, Health Plus and clothing stores Pep and Ruff N Tumble were also affected.

Several stores at a Surulere Mall which houses no less than 30 different stores, including cosmetics company, Zaron, were also plundered during the raids by angry mobs which exposed

Nigeria’s deep-rooted socio-economic crises.

An official from the cosmetics store, Zaron, who did not want to be named said goods worth N5 million may have been carried away.

“I haven’t been there to see things for myself yet but the person said. “I heard the other stores in the mall were all attacked and items worth millions taken away,” the person said.

Asked if there was an insurance cover for the store, the person said: “I am not sure there’s an insurance cover for that particular store.”

Several other stores in other parts of the Lekki and Surulere suburbs were also attacked with credible videos showing tens of people carting away with food items, clothes and electronics obtained from the stores even as they were being ravaged by fire.

It’s not the first time that mobs are organizing brainless attacks on private businesses in the name of protests. During the xenophobic attacks in South Africa where some Nigerians were killed, private businesses in Nigeria were targeted.

What started as attacks on businesses in Nigeria with South African affiliations, even though they were run by and employed Nigerians, soon escalated to attacks on Nigerian-owned businesses.

The attack on private businesses at any given opportunity is a sign of the deep-rooted socio-economic crises in Africa’s most populous nation where more than half of the population are poor, unemployment is at a record high and social welfare is practically non-existent.

Given that insecurity is one of the biggest threats to private investment, the attacks on private businesses could hinder investments in a country where local and foreign investment are already drying up.

Nigeria received $1.29 billion in foreign investment in the second quarter (Q2) of 2020, representing a decrease of 78.6% compared to the corresponding quarter of 2019, according to the latest Nigerian Capital Importation report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Reduced private investment would further worsen the unemployment and poverty situation in a country that has overtaken India as the poverty capital of the world.

About SPAR

The SPAR licence for Nigeria was granted to the Artee Group in 2009, a leading retail operator in Lagos.

SPAR operates 14 stores in Nigeria, according to information on its website and caters to over 5 million shoppers annually.

Its retail sales hit 128,867 Euros in 2019.

About Artee Group

Artee Group is one of Nigeria’s leading businesses spanning across the consumption space. While retail forms the core business activity of Artee Group, Group subsidiaries are present in shopping mall, manufacturing, real estates, among many others.

Artee Group’s statement of purpose is ‘Adding value beyond limits’. This is as true as it was in 1998 when the business started out as a wholesaler in Nigeria.

SPAR Park n Shop which operates in the hypermarket and supermarket retail format is present across 3 cities of Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.

In the year 2014, Artee Group launched its first shopping mall in Port Harcourt.

Riding on the success of Port Harcourt Mall, Artee Group is presently working on 3 shopping mall projects across Nigeria.

With the launch of Dollarstore in Port Harcourt Mall, Artee Group recently added another value format to its retail brand portfolio.

Expanding its presence across the consumption space, Artee joined hands with Landmark Group of Dubai to launch Babyshop, Lifestyle and Splash store brands to cater to fashion and lifestyle requirements of Nigerians.

Progress has continued throughout the years in developing the SPAR presence in Nigeria. The partner has assessed the potential in the market and developed the brand through a combination of new build and conversion stores, creating brand recognition amongst shoppers and local entrepreneurs able to supply local products to this organised retail network.

Our has been vandalized and looted. But, we acknowledge that this is only a setback compared to the larger issues we are all facing as a nation, and our thoughts and prayers remain with Nigerians everywhere, and for a peaceful resolution to various issues at hand

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