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Retailers scrambling for Nigerian market
Retailers scrambling for Nigerian market

Retailers scrambling for Nigerian market


MSN ZA News - Sep 6th 2011, 15:05

Nigeria's potent potential has made it the bull's eye of foreign and local retail companies as the 'country de jour' in which to set up shop, despite risks in in Africa.  

Nigeria's potent potential has made it the bull's eye of foreign and local retail companies as the 'country de jour' in which to set up shop, despite obvious risks in the most populous country in Africa.

With a score that has nearly doubled over the past decade on the Goldman Sachs' growth-environment index, consumer demand among Nigeria's 150 million plus population - half of which are under the age of 30 years - is at an all-time high, and it comes as no wonder that Citigroup chief economist Willem Buiter has predicted it to be the world's fastest growing economy between now and 2050.

Nigeria's decision to lift a ban on imported textiles unleashed a flurry of excitement, with South Africa's Pepkor wasting no time and declaring that it would open 50 outlets in a 100 million rand first phase expansion plan into Nigeria.

Construction, spurred by the need for formal retail experience in key cities, is also driving the retail boom in Nigeria. International grade shopping malls like the Ikeja City Mall in Lagos, due to open in 2012, already has retailers vying for occupancy in an aim to cater to the growing middle class.

Durban based Mr Price (MPC) has long eyed the Nigerian market, saying its population could easily support 50 to 100 stores.

And Spanish fashion retailer Mango has ambitious plans to have a presence in each of Nigeria's major cities.

The company opened its first outlet in Lagos in 2009 and has since expanded to the capital Abuja.

Clearly, Nigeria being identified as one of the countries with the most severe terrorism and political risk levels in the world, according to a Terrorism and Political Violence Map for 2011, has not deterred investment.

And it's not only clothing retailers hoping to cash in. SA quick-service restaurant franchise group Famous Brands (FBR) is making a big push into Nigeria through its Debonairs Pizza brand.

CEO Kevin Hedderwick said the company would also expand Keg and Jock and Mugg & Bean into Lagos and Abuja.

With the widespread crackdown on illegal roadside trading, the grocery sector too has thrived.

Dutch retailer Spar last year, through Nigerian partner Artee Group, opened its first store in the Lekki-Ajah district of Lagos.

"It [Nigeria] has the largest population in Africa and the economy is growing fast, resulting in much better living standards.

"We have a good partner in the Artee Group who will open Spar stores not only in Lagos but also in Abuja, Port Harcourt and other major population centres over the next three years," said Gordon R Campbell, managing director, Spar International.

SA giant Shoprite (SHP) meanwhile, has been trading there since 2005, and Grant Pattison, CEO of Wal-Mart backed Massmart (MSM), said the group was making good progress at identifying sites for potential expansion in Nigeria. The company has one Game store in Lagos.

Nigeria's challenges in terms of power supply and logistics are nuances that retailers have chosen to accept. Perhaps they're hoping to emulate the success of MTN Nigeria, whose total revenues rose to 32 billion rand last year.

Not bad for one of the most commodity-rich nations in Africa who has long been shrouded in scepticism and tension. 

Read more about: services | retailer news | econmic

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