Despite the diplomatic strain on Nigeria and South Africa’s bilateral relationship due to recent xenophobic attacks, South African companies are merging to expand investment to oust local competition in the country. Popular supermarket chain Shoprite and Retail clothing store, PEP store are spreading their outlets in major areas of Africa’s most populous black nation.

To meet the needs of over 170 million inhabitants of Nigeria, Shoprite will be constructing 10 other shopping centers in Nigeria. Whitey Basson’s Shoprite which launched into the Nigerian Market in 1995 entered a joint venture with Resilient Africa, a property development and investment company. The $85 million deal involves two other big South African finance and investment organizations: Standard Bank and Group Five.

“The risk in South Africa is up but returns are down. It is time to explore fresh markets,” said the Managing Director of Resilient, Mr. Des de Beer, who is known for spotting growth opportunities. He also believes that Nigeria offers better potential returns than South Africa, where opportunities for new retail developments have become few.

South African based company Pepkor Ltd, owners of PEP stores in Nigeria have also been bought by Steinhoff International Holdings. To increase its presence in Nigeria, the middle income clothing, footwears and accessories retail store will have 31 stores in operation by July this year.

Deon Conradie, the Nigeria’s manager of PEP store recently disclosed that the development is in line with the company’s desire to readily meet the growing market in Nigeria for other goods aside from food. He also confirmed that company’s expansion plan will see to the opening of 10 stores per year till 2018.

By Tobi Eyinade

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