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Shoprite Shuts Down Kano Branch Due to Financial Challenges and Unfavorable Business Climate

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Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited, the owners of the renowned Shoprite Mall, announced the closure of its Kano branch, located in the Ado Bayero Mall, effective January 14, 2024.

The decision was conveyed through a circular signed by the supermarket’s management, attributing the shutdown to the current financial strain experienced by the mall in the state and the challenging business climate prevailing in Nigeria.

The circular expressed regret over the necessity of the decision, hinting at the impending layoff of all employees associated with the Kano branch.

While the closure raises concerns about the impact on the local workforce, underlying factors contributing to the move have been brought to light.

Among the primary reasons for the planned relocation is the exorbitant monthly rent of N66 million paid by Shoprite to Ado Bayero Mall.

Also, the supermarket bears the cost of independent electricity from the Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO), along with expenses for fueling and maintaining its standby generator.

When considering these substantial costs alongside staff salaries and other operational expenditures, the total financial burden becomes staggering, exceeding N1 billion annually.

Several sources within the mall have attested to a decline in customer patronage over the past two years, mainly attributed to the economic downturn affecting the purchasing power of the average Kano resident.

Shop owners within Ado Bayero Mall voiced concerns about the high cost of leasing space, with some revealing quarterly fees ranging from N3 million to N4.5 million.

The closure of Shoprite in Kano not only poses challenges for employees facing job uncertainties but also raises questions about the sustainability of businesses surrounding the mall.

Concerns about the impact on neighboring plazas and enterprises have prompted intervention efforts, with Deputy Senate President Barau Jibrin scheduled to meet with Shoprite’s management in a bid to prevent the exit and explore potential solutions.

As Kano braces for the repercussions of Shoprite’s departure, the incident underscores broader challenges facing businesses amid Nigeria’s economic realities.

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Jumia Plans Warehouse Consolidation in Lagos Amid Nigeria Focus

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Jumia Technologies AG, the Nasdaq-listed e-commerce giant, has unveiled plans to consolidate its warehouses in Nigeria.

This decision is part of the company’s broader strategy to prioritize Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation as it endeavors to turn profitable amidst challenging market conditions.

The consolidation initiative will see Jumia merging its three existing warehouses in Nigeria into a single expansive depot spanning 30,000 square meters, strategically located in Lagos.

Francis Dufay, CEO of Jumia, emphasized the cost-cutting benefits associated with this move, highlighting the company’s commitment to optimizing its operational efficiency.

Speaking about the rationale behind the consolidation, Dufay expressed confidence in Nigeria’s potential to provide Jumia with the scale needed to achieve profitability.

Despite facing headwinds such as currency fluctuations and a challenging economic environment, Jumia views Nigeria as a key market for growth, anticipating positive developments in the medium term.

Jumia’s decision to streamline its operations in Nigeria comes against the backdrop of its ongoing efforts to navigate the complexities of the e-commerce landscape.

Despite reporting an operating loss of $8.33 million in the first quarter of the year, the company remains optimistic about its prospects in Nigeria, where it continues to witness steady revenue growth.

The e-commerce giant’s commitment to Nigeria underscores its long-term vision and determination to succeed in the region.

With plans to expand its footprint to additional cities across the country, Jumia aims to capitalize on Nigeria’s vast market potential and consumer demand.

However, Jumia’s journey to profitability in Nigeria is not without its challenges. The country’s economic landscape has been marred by currency devaluations, infrastructural deficiencies, and logistical hurdles.

Yet, amidst these obstacles, Jumia remains resilient, banking on Nigeria’s economic revival efforts and policy reforms to fuel its growth trajectory.

As part of its strategy to adapt to evolving market dynamics, Jumia has introduced innovative initiatives such as buy-now-pay-later financing options to cater to customers grappling with rising prices.

Also, the company remains vigilant in monitoring pricing dynamics, ensuring competitive pricing to meet the needs of price-conscious consumers.

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Alibaba Eyes Gulf Expansion, Seeks Partnerships in Saudi and UAE Markets

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Alibaba CEO Jack Ma gestures as he is introduced to participate in a panel discussion at the APEC CEO Summit in Manila

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the prominent Chinese e-commerce giant, is actively pursuing expansion into the Gulf region, notably in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Alibaba’s president, Michael Evans, revealed the company’s strategy during a panel discussion at Dubai’s World Government Summit, highlighting a commitment to local partnerships as a key aspect of their approach.

Evans underscored Alibaba’s recent endeavors in Saudi Arabia, indicating a concerted effort to deepen its presence in the region’s burgeoning e-commerce landscape.

The move signifies Alibaba’s strategic pivot towards collaborative ventures following a period of strategic realignment prompted by government scrutiny and leadership changes.

The Gulf’s growing ties with China, driven by mutual economic interests and investment diversification initiatives, present an opportune moment for Alibaba’s expansion efforts.

However, geopolitical complexities, including heightened US scrutiny of China-linked entities, add a layer of challenge to Alibaba’s Gulf aspirations.

As Alibaba seeks to reclaim its leadership position in the global tech industry, the pursuit of partnerships in Saudi Arabia and the UAE underscores the company’s adaptive approach to international expansion.

The success of these ventures could potentially reshape the Gulf’s e-commerce landscape and deepen economic ties between the region and China.

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Jumia to Shut Down its Food Unit to Focus on Core Goods and Jumia Pay

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In a strategic maneuver aimed at streamlining operations and maximizing growth potential, Jumia, the prominent e-commerce giant, has announced the imminent closure of its food delivery service, Jumia Food, across several operating countries by the end of December 2023.

This decisive move underscores Jumia’s commitment to refocusing efforts on its core physical goods business and the expansion of the Jumia Pay platform across its 11-country operational landscape.

“The more we focus on our physical goods business, the more we realize that there is huge potential for Jumia to grow, with a path to profitability. We must take the right decision and fully focus our management, our teams, and our capital resources to go after this opportunity. In the current context, it means leaving a business line, which we believe does not offer the same upside potential – food delivery,” said Francis Dufay, Chief Executive Officer of Jumia.

Despite constituting 11% of Jumia’s Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) in the first nine months of 2023, Jumia Food faced challenges in achieving profitability.

The total value of food sold on Jumia Food stood at $64 million, showcasing its significant scale but not translating into sustained revenue.

The decision to shutter Jumia Food aligns with Jumia’s strategic shift towards profitability, which has seen a decline in Quarterly Active Consumers and Orders.

This shift involves focusing on viable categories and reducing consumer incentives.

While Jumia Food contributed to Jumia’s GMV, the move to cease its operations signifies a commitment to concentrating resources where the company sees the most substantial growth potential.

Notably, the company has expressed that some employees from Jumia Food may transition to roles within the core physical goods segment.

The announcement of Jumia’s strategic shift comes concurrently with Bolt Food’s decision to exit Nigeria and South Africa, attributing economic downturns, high inflation, and intense competition as key factors.

This dynamic reflects the evolving landscape of food delivery services in Africa.

In contrast, other players in Nigeria’s food delivery market, such as Chowdeck, have reported significant growth. Chowdeck recently celebrated the achievement of delivering food worth over ₦1 billion ($1.2 million) in a single month.

Its success has been attributed to strategic partnerships and a capital-efficient model.

The African food delivery market is witnessing both challenges and opportunities, with companies adopting diverse strategies to navigate the complexities.

Jumia’s decision to exit the food delivery segment signals a determined effort to prioritize sustained growth and profitability in its core business areas.

As the African e-commerce landscape evolves, companies like Jumia are making strategic decisions to ensure long-term success.

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