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The apple of retail's eye

Dec 15th 2011, 08:23


The apple of retail's eye

Moving into 2012, retailers are going to have to begin implementing the ambitious expansion plans set out in recent months. The bulk of new store openings by South African retailers will be taking place outside of our borders. It’s not only grocery retailers that intend to open new stores in Africa, Foshini, Mr Price, Woolworths and Pep are looking to aggressively develop their footprint in Africa as well.

Africa is a difficult and often very expensive continent to trade in and it may be a concern that some retailers are investing a significant portion of their development budget on a continent that is largely unknown. With so many variables, like political, economic, market, staff and infrastructure issues to consider, it’s difficult to be accurate about the costs of servicing and rolling out new stores. Bearing all this in mind, retailers’ aspirations for growth in Africa may be less speedy than anticipated.

One thing for sure is that retailers that do not effectively cluster their stores will have a difficult time servicing them efficiently. We will be watching store openings with great interest and will be very curious to see which retailers meet their store opening targets.

After a year of intrigue, speculation and a pile of press releases, it would be great to see 2012 as a year of implementation and fulfilment for SA retailers. May 2012 be a year of growth and posterity.

Craig Ballantyne and Wendy Smith

P.S. Look out for this editorial on our editor’s blog.

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