February 22, 2017

South Africa retailer Woolworths to pull out of Nigeria

South African retailer Woolworths announced on Wednesday that it would be closing up shop in Nigeria, according to Reuters.

“The Nigerian business was unable to sustain a compelling product and value proposition which represents the brand well, and meets the needs of the Nigerian customer,” the company said in a statement, Reuters reports.

Woolworths currently has three stores in Nigeria, one in Enugu and two in Lagos. In 2012, Business Day reported that the South Africa store entered a joint venture partnership with Nigeria’s long standing conglomerates, Chellarams PLC, to set up Woolworths biggest retail outlet in Ikeja, Lagos, worth over N200 million.

The store, known primarily for its fashion, beauty and home products, also made arrangements to set up another store at the Palms in Victoria Island.

Both stores in Lagos cost Woolworths about N450 million initial investment and was financed by Ecobank.

At the opening of its Ikeja location, Chellarams’ chairman Solomon Onafowokan revealed that Woolworths had plans for 3o locations in Nigeria alone.

They acknowledged at the time that “infrastructure issues” exist, but insisted “there is a strong market in Nigeria”.

However, explaining its recent decision, the South African chain store cited high rental costs and supply chain challenges as reason for pulling out of Nigeria.

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Pilot Africa News is run and edited by Chika Moses. A video journalist eager to find new, great and inspiring content in Nigeria and Africa. Got a story tip? Send a message!