Retailers Urged to Explore Local Knowledge to Drive Growth 

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Operators in the retail sector have been advised to take advantage of their understanding of the local market to enhance business and economic growth.

Chief Executive Officer- Designate of FoodCo Nigeria Limited, Ade Sun-Basorun, gave this advice at a press briefing in Lagos recently.

Basorun said he was worried about the unimpressive performance of the retail sector to the economy and called on operators to up their game by harnessing technology and knowledge of local industry.

According to him, while the country has witnessed a significant growth of home-grown brands in the last decade,  it is very worrisome that the organised retail sub-sector accounts for less than 20 per cent of the total ecosystem.

“This is grossly inadequate for the country’s growing middle-class and fast expanding urban population who yearn for convenience, quality assurance and unique shopping experience that only modern retail outfits can deliver.

“Indigenous players have the benefit of local experience and a native understanding of the operating environment which can be strategically leveraged to deepen engagement with stakeholders as well as response to market dynamics. Additionally, they have first-hand knowledge of changing consumer tastes and are in a position to readily spot market gaps. These can be huge advantages if properly harnessed.

He further noted that operators must be able to integrate digitisation as part of the core fabric of business operations and go-to-market strategy to accelerate profitable growth in the space.

He said, “The Nigerian consumer is getting increasingly sophisticated and retail operators must be fluid enough to adapt to their tastes. Operators must embrace digitization and continuous innovation to reach customers at the point of their needs and unlock the manifold opportunities that exist within the space.” He further explained that FoodCo has been at the forefront of tackling specialist flight through several initiatives.

For instance, “We have been able to establish the FoodCo Fellowship, a novel initiative aimed at training a retail-ready workforce to drive growth in the Nigerian retail market. The Fellowship is targeted at MBA and post-graduate students with passion to build a career in retail.