The nation's retail industry has potential to be the highest employer of youths, a roundtable of experts converged by Broll, property services company, has said.
This was one of the outcomes of a roundtable Broll hosted for retail industry experts in Ikoyi, Lagos, recently.
The event tagged "Retail Industry: 10 Years from Now", had in attendance executives from Broll Nigeria, real estate financers, developers and retail investors.
One of the panelists, Funke Okubadejo, Director Actis, said the structure of the economy needed to be diversified. "Government relies heavily on oil revenue and has not tapped into other productive sectors of the economy such as retail. The retail sector presents a viable opportunity for youth employment and it behooves on retailers to bring this information to key decision makers in government."
According to the Chief Executive Officer of Broll Nigeria, Bolaji Edu, "despite a challenging environment, Nigeria still holds promise for investors who are willing to take a long-term approach on investments."
He stated that "The outlook for the retail sector is largely dependent on economic reforms as well as the lifting of foreign exchange restrictions."
Gavin Cox, Retail Portfolio Executive, Broll Property Services Ltd, Nigeria, noted that "with the emerging economic status; favorable demographics- large, young, growing, urbanizing population; opportunities for investment and growth exists in the African retail environment."
Adeniyi Adeleye, Head, Real Estate Finance, West Africa, Stanbic IBTC, the facilitator of the forum managed the panelist discussion, which included various speakers such as Michael Chu'di Ejekam; Retail Investor, Opeyemi Ajayi; Executive Vice President, Genesis Deluxe Cinemas, Tolu Sokenu; Investment Principal Actis, Eddie Mcdonald; Chief Executive Officer Resilient Africa, Kofi Abunu; Chief Development Officer, Food Concepts Ltd-Chicken Republic, Obi Nwogogu; Principal, Africa Capital Alliance, amongst others.
Panel discussions centred on retail in Nigeria, the opportunity for retail development, the next generation of retail malls and sustainability in secondary markets.
Some of the discussants pointed out that the future of the retail industry was in the development of a formal retail market outside prime locations in core cities. Eddie Mcdonald, Chief Executive Officer Resilient Africa opined that there is a future in the secondary market which can be achieved with focus on smaller malls and local retailers.
The one-day event focused on the emerging trends in the intersection of the dynamic interplay of developers, retailers and financers in running their operations in a symbiotic model that results in a win-win situation for every party.