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Expert gives advice on how local operators can grow in consumer retail space

As local operators continue to scale in the organized consumer retail sector in Nigeria, Ceo-designate of Foodco Nigeria Limited, Ade SunBasorun, has charged them to tap into their native knowledge of the environment to drive the industry towards attaining its potential.

Sun-basorun, co-author of the article, Africa’s Growing Giant: Nigeria’s New Retail Economy, stated that in spite of the current economic climate in the country, there continues to be opportunities for growth for value-focused offerings at targeted segments of the Food and Consumer Goods Sector which is projected to generate $40 billion in revenue by 2020.

According to him, integrating digitization as part of the core fabric of business operations and go-to-market strategy can further accelerate profitable growth for local operators in the space.

He said: “The last decade has witnessed rapid growth of home-grown brands in the Nigerian consumer space. It is commendable that these indigenous brands are rewriting the narrative in the marketplace; however, the reality is that the organized retail sub-sector currently accounts for less than 20 per cent of the total ecosystem. This is grossly inadequate for the country’s growing middle-class and fast-expanding urban population who yearn for the convenience, quality assurance and unique shopping experience that only modern retail outfits can deliver.”

“Indigenous players have the benefit of local experience and a native understanding of the operating environment which can be strategically leveraged to deepen engagement with stakeholders as well as response to market dynamics. Additionally, they have first-hand knowledge of changing consumer tastes and are in a position to readily spot market gaps. These can be huge advantages if properly harnessed,” he added.

Continuing, Sun-basorun noted that, “the Nigerian consumer is getting increasingly sophisticated and retail operators must be fluid enough to adapt to their tastes. Operators must embrace digitization and continuous innovation to reach customers at the point of their needs and unlock the manifold opportunities that exist within the space.”

In order to address the dearth of specialists in the sector, Sun-basorun added that Foodco established the Foodco Fellowship, a novel initiative aimed at training a retail-ready workforce to drive growth in the Nigerian retail market. According to him, the Fellowship is targeted at MBA and post-graduate students with a passion to build a career in retail.

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