The announcement comes following a previous statement issued on 13 January 2020, that the retailer would enter into an S189 consultation process, in terms of the Labour Relations Act.
“Since 13 January 2020, management has consulted extensively with the affected employees; organised labour and other relevant stakeholders under the guidance of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration and all options/alternatives in respect of the potential closure of the affected stores have been exhausted,” Massmart said. The board has thus taken a decision to close the non-performing stores.
The company said it is in talks with unions, to mitigate the number of job losses – possibly deploying some of the Dion workers to vacant roles within the Massmart Group, “where practical and reasonable”.
In 1990, the Massmart group was created around six Makro stores, and in 1993 it acquired what was then a group of 20 Dion department stores. Two decades later, in 2011, Walmart took control of Massmart as part of an expansion strategy that had it eyeing the African continent.
Massmart saw its profits plunge by R1.73 billion in 2019, due to disastrous trading at Game and DionWired, and in the division that houses Cambridge Food and its Jumbo and Rhino store brands.
But Builders Warehouse and Makro continued to make decent money for the Walmart-owned group.