Pick n Pay Namibia will lay off a quarter of its workforce

Pick n Pay Namibia, which is owned by Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group, is set to lay off a quarter of its workforce. The retailer is in discussions with unions about cutting 500 jobs from its workforce of 1,931 people, citing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as the catalyst for change.

The company is looking to restructure and says the job cuts are “aimed at reversing losses and setting the business on the path of sustainability”. Ohlthaver & List operates 22 Pick n Pay stores across major towns and cities in Namibia.

The COVID-19 pandemic has served to accelerate the scale of the crisis for the retailer, which has seen turnover fall, and costs rise above inflation, leading to losses in the past two years. Revenues in the retail division accounted for by Pick n Pay actually rose by 6.1% in 2019 over the year prior, from N$2.03bn ($136.2m) to N$2.15bn ($144.5m). EBIT rose 73.5%, although it remained lossmaking.

Ohlthaver & List, which was founded in 1919, is a diversified Namibian company, owning significant stakes in Namibia Breweries, Hangana Seafood, Namibia Dairies, Windhoek Schlachterei (meat processing), O&L Leisure (hotels), Broll Namibia (property management), as well as a range of advertising and service companies.