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Carrefour forges into Africa

In partnership with distributor CFAO, French retailer Carrefour is making its entrance into the African market and will open shops in eight African countries by 2015.
Malcolm Horne, CEO of Broll Property Group
Malcolm Horne, CEO of Broll Property Group

CFAO, which will own 55% of the venture with Carrefour, aims to generate about EU1 billion, or around R13 billion, in revenue yearly in 10 years from the link-up, and from revenue produced by the shopping malls it plans to construct. CFAO is controlled by Gucci-owner Kering SA. It distributes goods mainly in central and west Africa.

Welcoming the news, Malcolm Horne, CEO of Broll Property Group, said that Carrefour has chosen the right time to enter the market.

Africa's scope for investment is steadily increasing and demand for more formal retail options from shoppers is following suit.

"Importantly, it has also chosen a strategic partner with experience in distribution channels and a track record of entering emerging markets in Africa," says Horne. "Carrefour has identified the opportunity that Africa presents and clearly taken a view to position itself in markets with limited choices and huge shopper needs."

The first African Carrefour is set to open in 2015 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. From there, it is set to open in Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon and Senegal.

Horne says Carrefour's arrival points to exciting times for the retail market in Africa.

"Carrefour will bring a great alternative offering to the market. The trend of retailers entering new markets will continue to accelerate as Africa develops and demystifies," says Horne. "Increasing economic participation in African countries has the potential to springboard further growth and positive demand to invest in infrastructure."

Horne believes the continent is well poised for further development. "Early entrants into this trading space have proved that they can dominate markets and that smaller retailers follow them into these markets," concludes Horne.

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