API Summit & Expo 2018 to highlight smarter retail for Africa

Adriaan Otto, Africa Originator for Massmart.
Adriaan Otto, Africa Originator for Massmart.

The Africa Property Investment Summit & Expo, now running for its ninth consecutive year, will bring the future of Africa’s retail sector into sharp focus with a specialised retail segment.

Held on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 September 2018 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Sandton Central as a popular attraction of the API Summit, the retail segment will provide a perfectly curated platform with topics including current mall performance, local and global retailer expansion into Africa, new opportunities, technology, innovative design, and more.

Sagaci Research Managing Director, Julien Garcier, is optimistic when it comes to Africa’s retail prospects, believing that there are a great number of untapped opportunities available across the continent.

According to Garcier, Kenya – enjoying keen interest from foreign retailers – Cote d’Ivoire, and Ghana are currently experiencing sharp growth. In terms of retail, opportunities are also numerous.

Many local markets still have limited structured retail available in key retail categories, like fashion, sports, and DIY. In terms of those retailers who are active in Africa, there is already a good variety. Several chains are currently active, independent of their country of origin, including French cosmetics brand Yves Rocher, Turkish clothing store LC Waikiki, low-cost Chinese retailer Miniso, and of course Shoprite, Mr Price, Game, Carrefour, and Decathlon,” says Garcier.

For retailers looking to Africa, one of the challenges they often face is finding the right retail partner to operate their store locally. Retailers also need to ensure they find the right location – a complex issue due to the lack of suitable spaces currently available.

But new retailers are arriving, and they are pushing the boundaries. This is great for the African retail landscape, as it brings more choices and better offerings to the consumers. I am certain that we can expect many more surprises ahead,” he says.

One retailer already very active on the continent, Massmart, is aiming for a 35% growth in store footprint over the next three years.

We have always been of the view that we would take a measured approach to the rest of Africa, and our expansion into a new country is based on the market potential and our ability to succeed. We consider our competitive advantage and our product offering for any specific market,” explains Adriaan Otto, Africa Originator for Massmart.

According to him, there is little difference between operating in the rest of Africa and any other new market.

One of our biggest challenges has been is gaining access to retail sites of the right quality, and in the right location. To add to this, more expensive rental rates do pose a challenge,” he says.

However, when it comes to Africa, we are invested for the long-term, and we aim to make positive impact on the communities and countries in which we operate. Massmart has policies regarding local sourcing and employment to achieve this and, in most of our African operations, almost 95% of our management and employees are local, and the vast majority of our fresh produce is locally sourced,” Otto says.

This API retail segment is just one of many thought provoking dialogues set to take place at this year’s API Summit & Expo, where each presentation and discussion aims to provide in-depth, nuanced conversation and limitless networking opportunities for the over 600 delegates from across the globe.

Kfir Rusin, Managing Director for API Events, adds: “The retail segment has been designed to identify and unpack new opportunities in the sector, while sharing and learning from our different experiences across the continent.”