Upmarket retailers, Woolworths, are set to open up outlets in Nigeria, only weeks after hitting the Tanzanian and Ugandan market. In a major announcement, the South African giants listed Lagos, Lekki and Ikeja and the Polo Park in Enugu as cities where they will open up shop.
The business deal is a joint venture with local company Chellarams and will see the three stores open in December with seven more being projected over the next two years.
Woolworths Divisional executive John Fraser gushes; “We are confident about our investment in Nigeria and we are very pleased with the growth prospects of the Nigerian market. The country has a large population with significant and growing middle-and-upper income groups. We have found the right partner in Chellarams to grow the Woolworths brand in Nigeria,”
“Joint ventures with local partners, such as Chellarams, is the new business model for our expansion plans in other African countries. We have moved away from the franchise model we had in some African countries. It’s not only a better profit model for Woolworths, but it’s also better for customers,” he said.
The company plans to open 16 new stores in the 2012 financial year, bringing its total African footprint to 60. Retail space will increase by 42% next year and by an estimated 145% over the next three years, it says.
“Nigeria is a rapidly expanding market,” Woolworths CEO Ian Moir said at the company results presentation in August. “In three or four years things will change dramatically and there will be a few malls, and we need to be in there at the start.”