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CEO Grant Pattison in tears as Edcon prioritises salaries

Pattison had a difficult conference call with his suppliers on Thursday explaining that they could not pay them.

Grant Pattison. Picture: corporate.walmart.com

JOHANNESBURG - While many South Africans started working from home on Friday, many others found themselves in difficult positions faced with the possibility of not being paid during the 21 days national lockdown.

Businesses closed their doors uncertain about what the picture would look like after three weeks when the lockdown is expected to be lifted.

Edcon CEO Grant Pattison had a difficult conference call with his suppliers on Thursday explaining that they could not pay them.

LISTEN: Edcon faces dire consequences of Covid-19 on the retailer

Pattison said Edcon would prioritise the payment of salaries to staff.

“We are not giving up, we will work closely with government and funders to find a way to continue trading after the lockdown has ended. Our problems just highlight the challenge of necessarily pushing pause on the economy, knowing you will have to restart it when it's safe again,” he said.

Pattison said when the country went into lockdown, Edcon would be about R400 million below predicted sales and cash for the month.

He told suppliers that they would turn their attention to building a re-opening plan next week.

“We will be heavily dependent on business support packages offered by government and other agencies and funders. Management will continue to look at all options and there may be some really tough recommendations to be made to the board after the lockdown period, including having to consider business rescue.”

Listen below to 702’s Bruce Whitfield’s emotional reaction to Grant Pattison’s sad news:

To track the latest developments around the coronavirus both in South Africa and abroad, click on this live status report from Strategix.

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