British retailers eyeing Africa says Barclays

British retailers keen to explore opportunities overseas are increasingly looking at Africa, with South Africa the top ranked market for retail expansion according new research from financial giant Barclays.

It found that almost a quarter of British retailers said Africa would be the "new retail growth story" in the next decade, with first mover advantage (33 percent) considered to be the most important consideration when expanding.

The survey, released on Tuesday, asked British retailers about their attitudes towards international expansion.

"Africa remains one of the final frontiers for retail, but the recent acquisition of South Africa's Massmart shows how seriously global retailers are now taking the continent," Barclays said.

Just 21 percent of the surveyed retailers currently generate sales on the continent.

"Of those which do, more than half (53 percent) say South Africa is their top market," Barclays said. "When asked where in Africa they would consider expanding in future, South Africa remained the number one choice with 18 percent."

Ghana and Kenya were next on the list, with six percent and four percent respectively.

The reasons given for this interest was Africa's burgeoning middle class followed by the take up of mobile technology.

"Many of the trends which have driven the economic development of emerging economies in Asia and South America are beginning to take hold in Africa," said Richard Lowe, Head of Retail & Wholesale at Barclays. "Its rapidly expanding middle class increasingly need goods and services which cannot be catered for domestically, providing a golden opportunity for internationally-minded retailers. This is a truly 'ground floor' moment in many African economies."

Other markets which currently provide revenues for British retailers in Africa include Chad, Congo, Morocco and Nigeria.

The United States remains the top destination, the survey found.

Image: Getty

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