Massmart to open 20 stores in pan-African expansion -chairman

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A shopper pushes a shopping cart loaded with goods past the check out counters of a Game supermarket, operated by Massmart Holdings Ltd., at the Centurion Mall in Centurion, South Africa, on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. South Africa's central bank will need to assess whether its current monetary policy stance remains appropriate after risks to the inflation outlook escalated because of a weaker rand, Deputy Governor Daniel Mminele said. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – South African retailer Massmart is continuing its pan-African expansion with plans to open about 20 new stores outside its home market over the next three years, the company’s chairman said on Monday.
Massmart, majority-owned by U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart, operates nearly 400 stores, including 42 across 12 countries outside South Africa.

“We’re very bullish about Africa, sub-Saharan Africa as a whole,” Kuseni Dlamini told Reuters on the sidelines of the African CEO Forum in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital Abidjan.

“This year alone we will be opening eight new stores on the African continent. In the next three years we’ll be expanding our retail trading space by 35.6 percent.”

New stores are due to open in Kenya, Ghana, Mozambique, Zambia and Swaziland.

Dlamini said Massmart is also studying markets in French-speaking West Africa with a view to starting operations there.

He added that recent political events in South Africa, including former President Jacob Zuma’s resignation and replacement by Cyril Ramaphosa, were encouraging.

“We foresee consumer and business confidence getting better. We’ve already started to see some improvements on that front,” he said.

Reporting by Joe Bavier; Editing by David Evans and David Goodman

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