Massmart files competition complaint against Shoprite, Pick N Pay, Spar

Massmart has filed an anti-competition complaint to fight their exclusive leases with shopping centres.

Massmart, known for its Makro chain of wholesale stores, has been on a push to increase its grocery business. Picture: Massmart.

JOHANNESBURG - Massmart Holdings has filed an anti-competition complaint against three major rivals to fight their exclusive leases with shopping centres, the discount retailer said on Monday.

The unit of Wal-Mart Stores said it had filed the complaint with South Africa's competition watchdog against grocers Shoprite, Pick N Pay and Spar over leases it says are anti-competitive.

Massmart, known for its Makro chain of wholesale stores, has been on a push to increase its grocery business. However, that effort has been hampered as some shopping centres have agreed to an exclusive lease with another grocer, spokeswoman Annaleigh Vallie said.

The exclusive leases can last anywhere from five to 20 years, she said.

"The company is of the opinion that exclusive lease agreements are intuitively anti-competitive and prevent it from developing an offering that can compete effectively with the entrenched, national retail chains," Massmart said in a statement.

Shoprite is Africa's largest retailer and Pick N Pay is South Africa's second-largest grocer, trailing behind Shoprite.

Shares of Shoprite, Pick N Pay and Spar were all down around 1 percent, slightly underperforming the Johannesburg All-Share index, which was flat.

Massmart was also down nearly 1 percent.