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Woolworths expands its African presence
Sep '11
Woolworths has announced the formation of a joint venture in Tanzania and Uganda with businessman and former franchise partner, Ali Mufuruki of Tanzania.

There is currently one Woolworths store in Uganda and three Woolworths stores in Tanzania. Woolworths will add another store in Uganda and another two in Tanzania by the end of the year.

“I am delighted to be part of this joint venture with Woolworths, to grow this market and offer our customers the choice and quality Woolworths is famous for. Also, new stores will create much needed employment and be good for the economy,” said Mufuruki.

The joint venture is part of Woolworths plans to accelerate its expansion into Africa.

“Joint ventures with local partners is the new business model for our Pan African expansion plans. We are moving away from the franchise model we had in the past. It's not only a better profit model for our business, but it's also better for our customers,” said Glenn Gilzean, Woolworths Group director for retail operations.

Woolworths aims to open 16 stores in African countries this year taking the total number of stores to 60 in the current financial year. The new stores will be larger than current ones.
Retail space will increase by 42% in the current financial year and by an estimated 145% over the next three years.

Woolworths has had a presence in African countries for over 10 years and currently has stores in the following 10 countries: Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Mozambique. Woolworths intends to open stores in Nigeria and Angola.

“We regard trading beyond South African borders an opportunity for Woolworths growth and we believe it will deliver a meaningful profit contribution. We are confident about the growth prospects of our investment in Uganda and Tanzania and indeed across Africa. Consumer spending accounts for more than 60% of the African GDP and this will increase with the growth of the upper and middle income groups,” said Gilzean.

“Our joint ventures mean we can deliver customers the best retail offering possible tailored to local market needs. Our partners bring knowledge of local trading conditions and we bring the quality, value, innovation and fashion our South African customers know and appreciate. It's the best of both worlds,” said Gilzean.

Woolworths has refined and improved its merchandise offering for customers in selected African countries. Customers can now look forward to a larger selection of fashion and general merchandise that suits their needs. This includes formal wear, children's wear, beauty products and casual wear that are fashionable and trendy for men and women. It also includes Woolworths Re: and Studio: W fashion brands which have recently been re-launched in South Africa.

Woolworths Holdings Limited

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