South African retail advances in leaps and bounds

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The immense potential of African economies is set to play a vital role establishing the momentum and innovation that will take South African retail to its rightful place in the recovery of global and local economies.


South African retailers, the likes of Shoprite and Massmart have pioneered the retail drive up Africa. And Wal-Mart, which has entered Africa with the highly publicised Massmart transaction, has clearly indicated that attractive potential exists for its expansion on the African continent.

Looking at Africa as the next frontier for growth in the world will be one of the topics explored at the 15th Annual Congress of the South African Council of Shopping Centres, hosted by The SA Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) endorsed by the International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC) and main sponsor Nedbank Corporate Property Finance.

'Shift - Adapt, Adjust, Advance' is this year’s theme. And ‘continental shift’ is a major element of this year’s conference looking at the vast and exciting potential for retail and business on the African continent.

“African retailing is really South African retailing, where almost all of the continent’s bustling commerce activity takes place. Considering the lack of globalization, South African retail companies, particularly their food retailers, are large in comparison to other retailers around the world,” notes the 2011 Global Powers of Retailing Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and STORES Magazine report. 

The 14th annual Global Powers of Retailing list ranks 250 retailers from 32 different countries. According to this list, over the last year Shoprite Holdings rocketed from a global ranking of 130 into the 95th position. “Such upward movement on the global retailing stage is truly impressive,” says the report.

Pick n Pay and Massmart Holdings experienced similar upward movement and two new South African companies broke onto the Global Powers of Retailing list in 2011 – Woolworths and Metcash Trading. 

According to ‘Lions on the Move – the Progress and Potential of African economies’ research report by McKinsey Global Institute and McKinsey and Company’s Africa offices, “today, while Asia’s tiger economies continue to expand rapidly, we foresee the potential rise of economic lions in Africa’s future.”

Mutsa Chironga, who led the project team for this research will be addressing the Congress of the South African Council of Shopping Centres on the fascinating findings of this project which was released last year and anticipates that Africa’s collective GDP in 2020 will be USD2.6 trillion, with USD1.4 trillion consumer spending in 2020 and 128 million African households having discretionary income. 

Retail is amongst consumer-facing industries which comprise one of four groups of industries in Africa that together will the report anticipates to be worth USD2.6 trillion in annual revenue by 2020. 

It projects that 50% of Africans will be living in cities by 2030 that the continent’s top 18 cities could have a combined spending power of USD 1.3 trillion by this time.

“Today the rate of return on foreign investment in Africa is higher than in any other developing region. African economies provide opportunities to create markets, establish brands, share industry structure, influence customer preferences and establish long-term relationships,” according Lions on the Move.

Global citizen, African specialist and research expert Tendai Mhiza believes opportunities abound across Africa. She will share her insights on possibilities that abound across the real Africa of today, which is bursting with potential and hope from a business perspective.

“An insightful view of the industry will be presented with a superb collection of top speakers, which will address the challenges, examples of success and themes that are responsive to industry needs and will ultimately empower better decision making, planning and vision for our retail industry,” says SACSC congress chairman, Hildegarde Riphagen.

The retail sector's annual flagship event is set to take place at the Sandton Convention Centre from 14 to 16 September 2011.

Now in its 15th year, the conference has grown significantly over the years, attracting a wide range of industry stakeholders, from retailers, investors and leasing agents, to marketers and developers from Southern Africa as well as further afield.



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