French retailer plans 80 malls in Africa to cater to rising middle class
French retailer Comptoir Francais de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (CFAO) teamed up with the Carrefour supermarket group to open its first shopping mall in Africa last week.
The $66-m PlaYce Marcory centre in Abidjan, the commercial capital of Côte d’Ivoire, is to be the first of 80 across west and central Africa as demand grows for higher-value goods and brands.
Spanning 20,000 m2, the PlaYce Marcory has a Carrefour hypermarket, a shopping mall with 55 stores, and a food court that seats over 400.
According to CFAO, the centre created 550 direct jobs and will meet “the most stringent standards in international mass retail”.
Côte d’Ivoire is one of the most advanced economies in west Africa – some 20% of Abidjan’s 5 million residents are considered middle class – and CFAO plans to open a dozen smaller malls there.
The rise of African retail is expected to accelerate in the coming years as incomes rise among fast growing economies.
Last year South Africa’s Standard Bank estimated that the African middle class has tripled in size over the past 14 years.
Richard Bielle, the director general of CFAO, told Reuters Africa: “We estimate that in 2040, 250 million Africans will have sufficient income to … consume. It’s precisely to accompany this formidable growth of this middle class that CFAO is looking to open 80 centres.”