Global Retailers Eye Growing Middle Class, Opportunity in Nigeria

Global Retailers Eye Growing Middle Class, Opportunity in Nigeria

From Business Day Live

When Shoprite opened its seventh Nigerian shop in the southwestern city of Ibadan, Dayo Oketola fought his way through a crush gathered in front of the glass doors.

“When I got inside I discovered many people were there just because they wanted to say ‘I’ve entered a Shoprite!’ Some people looked like they had actually dressed up for the visit,” says the public servant, who stocked up on about 4,000 naira (R252) of groceries.

Many, though, bought nothing at all when the shop opened its doors in July. The conundrum shows both how much potential this country of 160-million people has as a consumer market — and how far it is from being realised.

For many Nigerians, being middle class remains an aspiration. But as more people achieve that status every year, South African retailers are turning from saturated home markets to high-growth countries in the continent.

In its latest trading figures, Shoprite says it sees scope for up to 800 shops in Nigeria, and is also targeting Zambia, Uganda and Angola. “Nigeria can handle that many stores if you look at the size of the cities and the penetration of supermarkets … and it can happen quickly, but that’s not dependent on Shoprite but on (the availability of) sites,” CEO Whitey Basson says.

Read more at bdlive.co.za