Shoprite Holdings Ltd., South Africa’s biggest food retailer, said an outlet and warehouse in the Angolan capital of Luanda were hit by a blaze that a witness said took almost three days to put out.
The store on the outskirts of the city caught fire on July 25, the Cape Town-based company said today in e-mailed comments. “The total extent of the damage is still being assessed and the cause of the fire is yet to be identified,” it said.
The blaze wasn’t extinguished until July 27, Daniel Cano, a 38-year-old mechanic and local resident, said by phone today. The outlet in the Palanca district is one of two Shoprite-branded stores in the city.
“We saw a huge amount of smoke coming from the warehouse,” Cano said. “There was a bit of chaos with fire department trucks and people trying to extinguish the fire. It was a big disaster.”
Shoprite earns about one sixth of its revenue outside of South Africa. The chain also has outlets in the Angolan cities of Lubango, Lobito and Huambo, and operates under the USave banner in five other locations.
Angola, sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest economy and second-biggest oil producer, is undergoing a construction boom as it recovers from a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002. Shoprite started operating in the country in 2003.