Welcome to the first edition of our African Powers of Retailing report, which identifies the Top 25 listed African Retailers by revenue. Its methodology is based on our annual Global Powers of Retailing report which has been showcasing the changing global retail landscape for over 10 years.

The report is the first in an annual series where we track the progress of the top African retail performers on the continent. We have set out to provide a comparative macro-view of African-based (or 'home grown') listed companies whose core business is retail. African-listed subsidiaries of large global retailers are included as individual entities, while we have chosen not to focus on foreign multi national companies with operations in Africa. The data unearths some insights into the regional retail players, their successes and some of their stories. And most importantly, we believe that it opens up conversation and stimulates robust debate around business model adaption, innovation and strategic decision making when it comes to retail in Africa.

The African market is diverse, complex, interesting, and characterised more by informal than formal retail. The rising middle class is however contributing to the modernisation of retailing and greater consumer market opportunities. Moreover, Africa has become a laboratory for experimentation in mobile and eCommerce, and presents a challenging opportunity. Many African economies are transitioning towards consumption driven markets which is, to some degree, reflected in the country retail contributions to GDP where both East and West Africa have 10 countries with retail revenue contributions of greater than 50%.

The natural link between the retail opportunity and understanding the consumer is illustrated in our recent report – The Deloitte Consumer Review: Africa: A 21st Century view. It highlights 5 key pillars of the consumer opportunity in Africa: the rise of the middle class, exponential population growth, the dominance of youth, rapid urbanisation, and fast adoption of digital technologies.

While our top 25 retailers are concentrated in South Africa, we are observing the emergence of companies such as Zambeef (Zambia), Choppies (Botswana), and Société Magasin Général (Tunisia) as some of the fastest growing on the continent. The fastest growing 10 retailers also have a wide geographic presence with an average country presence in 8 countries and an average store count of more than 900.

Although still in its infancy, the African digital evolution is a promising prospect for retailers with the eCommerce market expected to be worth approximately US$50 billion by 2018 – some of Africa's most successful emerging eCommerce businesses originated in Nigeria and have expanded from there across the continent. As a result, we have taken a brief look at some top African eCommerce players (e-retailers) and the landscape that the likes of Konga, Jumia, Yuppiechef, takealot and Bidorbuy are playing in. International retailer interest in Africa also appears to be increasing with early stage retail development representing significant potential as retail chains develop, gain economies of scale, and food safety and higher store standards become embedded in shopper expectations.

The emerging importance of and increasing competition in forecourt retailing is notable in Southern Africa. However, we are keen to track how this further develops on the continent as the forecourt is increasingly becoming a central location for the consumer, especially beyond major centres.

The barriers to retail success mentioned in the report mirror many current views, and include a shortage of high-end retail space, infrastructure issues, political instability and currency challenges. They are however predominantly manmade, and with increasing investments in Africa, can be overcome – the question is, how long will it take? It appears some key players on the continent are considering this 'timing' to such an extent that they are exploring additional market investments outside the continent – this includes retailers such as The Foschini Group, Shoprite Holdings, and the SPAR Group – looking as far as Europe and Asia Pacific. For both international and African companies seeking to invest on the continent the opportunities clearly exist and; there are local players to partner with who know the markets, understand its cultures, and speak the languages. If common ground can be found, a combination of international expertise together with local knowledge might be a successful formula for ongoing retail growth in Africa.


The study is intended to provide a reflection of market dynamics, the African players and their impact on the African retailing industry over a period of time.

Company inclusion criteria

Retail companies based in Africa and listed on the continent were included in the top 25 African powers of retailing, based on their non-auto retail revenue for fiscal year 2013 (encompassing fiscal years ended through June 2014).

African-listed subsidiaries of large global retailers are included as individual entities in this report, and it is aimed at identifying those listed companies that one could consider "African" or "Local". We have highlighted some notable examples of exclusions in the appendix which are a result of this methodology.

To be included on the list, a company must derive the majority of its revenue from retailing, and retailing activity should form its core business. Private equity and other investment firms are not considered as retail entities in this report – only the individual operating companies. Note that Angola and Ethiopia do not have stock exchanges and therefore retail companies based in these countries were not included.

Retail trade comprises establishments that are engaged in the sale of merchandise, generally in small quantities to the general public, and the rendering of services incidental to the sale of merchandise (e.g. delivery, installation, maintenance, repair, alterations). The revenue derived from such service activities is included in the African powers calculation of retail revenue.

Food service companies and restaurants are not included in this list, as they are generally considered to be part of the leisure and hospitality sector of the economy. Further to this, motor vehicle dealers are excluded along with retailers that derive the majority of their retail revenue from the sale of motor fuel, as they are considered to be primarily petrol stations.

The study is intended to provide a reflection of market dynamics, the African players and their impact on the African retailing industry over a period of time. As a result of these factors, growth rates for individual companies may not correspond with other published results.

Data collection and methodology

Each of the top 25 companies were analysed on key parameters such as financials, core and ancillary retail sectors, geographic presence, store formats and store footprint. The key financials collated were group revenue, retail revenue, net profit margins and return on assets. Group revenue reflects the consolidated net revenue of a retailer's parent company, whether or not that company itself is primarily a retailer. The retail revenue figures in this report reflect only the retail portion of the company's consolidated net revenue. As a result, they may reflect adjustments to reported revenue figures in order to exclude non-retail operations. The retail revenue figures are converted to US$ based on the average exchange rates of the corresponding period, according to a standardised fiscal year definition.

Data referred to as fiscal 2013 will include full-year data for companies whose fiscal years ended between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2014. Y-o-y retail revenue growth, CAGR retail revenue, net profit margins and return on assets were calculated based on company-reported currency figures. The broad categories of retail sectors and store formats considered are given in the Appendix at the end of this report.

For eCommerce companies, retail revenue includes only direct business to consumer (B2C) sales where the company is the seller on record. It excludes the sales of third-party sellers as well as third-party seller fees and commissions.

Retail revenue includes the following components:

  • Food service sales if sold as a merchandise offering inside retail stores or if the restaurants are located within the company's stores
  • Franchise or licence fees, royalties and commissions related to retail activity
  • Membership fees
  • Sales of services related to the company's retail activities, such as alterations, repairs, maintenance and installations
  • Wholesale sales to affiliate or member stores, including franchise stores
  • Other miscellaneous revenue, unless it relates to a specific non-retail business segment

Financial information used for each company in a given year is based on the company financial reports. Where a company may have restated prior-year results to reflect a change in its operations or as a result of an accounting change, such restatements are not reflected in this data.

To read this Report in full, please click here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.