Insurgency in northern Nigeria wouldn’t stop South African retailer Shoprite from grabbing a business opportunity, as it Thursday opened its first outlet in the region.
The new outlet is part of an aggressive expansion drive to maintain its status as the biggest retailer in Africa.
Kano has been known as a commercial city and would have been an easy choice if not for security concerns in the north’s largest city and main commercial hub.
The new Shoprite store is situated in the new $110-million (80-million-euro) Ado Bayero Mall that has taken three years to construct, prided by Kano as Nigeria’s biggest.
Shoprite beared security in mind as it opened the doors of the Kano outlet to hundreds of upper and middle class Nigerians who thronged the mall yesterday, with private security guards searching vehicles for weapons and explosives, and armed police keeping watch on shoppers.
The new outlet which cost the South African retailer $20 million, brings to eight the number of Shoprite stores in Nigeria.
“We decided to expand our reach to Kano as part of our commitment to widen our presence in the Nigerian mega cities,” store manager Adulhakeem Abdulganiyu told AFP.
“Kano, as a commercial city with its huge population, provides ample business opportunities which we want to exploit.”
Kano is already home to several shopping malls owned by Nigerians and Lebanese as well as Indian nationals, but they are now dwarfed by the new 24,000 square metre (258,000 sq ft) centre.
Abdulganiyu insisted that “the market is big enough for all of us” while others said the new venture would be good for competition.