SouthAfrica.info (Johannesburg)

3 April 2013

South Africa: SA Voted Top African Retail Market

South Africa is the top ranked market for retail expansion in Africa in the latest survey by UK financial services provider Barclays.

The survey, released on Tuesday, asked British retailers about their attitudes towards international expansion.

While the United States remains the top destination, Africa is emerging as an attractive market to invest in, the survey found.

"Africa remains one of the final frontiers for retail, but the recent acquisition of South Africa's Massmart shows how seriously global retailers are now taking the continent," Barclays said in a statement.

Almost a quarter of companies surveyed said Africa would be the "new retail growth story" in the next decade.

Only 21% of the surveyed retailers currently generate sales on the continent. "Of those which do, more than half (53%) say South Africa is their top market," the company said.

"When asked where in Africa they would consider expanding in future, South Africa remained the number one choice with 18%."

Ghana and Kenya were next on the list, with 6% and 4% respectively.

This was due to the emergence of a growing middle class, as well as growth in the use of mobile technology.

"Many of the trends which have driven the economic development of emerging economies in Asia and South America are beginning to take hold in Africa," said head of retail and wholesale at Barclays, Richard Lowe.

"Its rapidly expanding middle class increasingly need goods and services which cannot be catered for domestically, providing a golden opportunity for internationally-minded retailers.

"This is a truly 'ground floor' moment in many African economies," Lowe said.

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