South African retailer Shoprite has decided to close its operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Reuters has reported.

The decision is part of the company’s strategy to focus more on its business in South Africa.

It comes after Shoprite previously ended its operations in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Madagascar.

Reuters quoted a company statement as saying: “The decision to close operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo during this period is regrettable but is part of the group’s long-term strategy.”

Shoprite entered the DRC in 2012 and reportedly operates three stores in the country.

The retailer has seen its expansion plans affected by various factors such as double-digit inflation and currency volatility.

Last year, it sold its Nigerian operations to local property group Persianas.

Based in Brackenfell, Western Cape, Shoprite provides food and essential home goods, home appliances and value-added services at low prices.

The company is one of South Africa’s largest retailers by market capitalisation, sales, profit and number of employees and customers.

As on 3 July this year, it operated a network of more than 2,989 stores, including 2,476 corporate stores and 513 franchise outlets, across 15 countries in Africa.

Shoprite currently has more than 145,000 employees and a network of distribution centres across Africa.

In the three months to 30 September, Shoprite reported a sales growth of 18.6% from the same period of last year.

Excluding its RSA LiquorShop, the company’s sales increased by 15.9% year-on-year during the quarter.

In June last year, Shoprite extended its partnership with customer data science company Dunnhumby.

The partnership aims to allow Shoprite to offer low prices and customise the customer experience across its operations, including its Xtra Savings cards.

Shoprite and Dunnhumby had been working together since 2013 as part of Shoprite’s efforts to become a customer-centric company.