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South African Billionaire Christo Wiese Eyes Nigeria

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South African billionaire Christo Wiese, executive chairman of Pepkor– South Africa’s largest discount clothing retailer, has revealed plans to open new outlets for the low-cost clothier in Nigeria, Bloomberg has reported.

Wiese, who debuted on the Forbes Billionaires List in March this year (worth $1.6 billion), intends to invest as much as R100 million ($14 million) for the first phase of the expansion project, which will see Pepkor open at least 50 outlets across Nigeria before the year ends.

Pepkor traditionally targets low-income earners, and operates under brands like Pep, Best & Less and Ackermans. The retailer currently operates over 2,800 stores in South Africa, Poland and Australia. Pepkor’s scheduled expansion into Nigeria mirrors an ever-growing interest in Africa’s largest market by some of the world’s largest retailers. Already, Wal-Mart has hinted  its interest in opening up stores in Nigeria, while brands like Mango and Zara have set up shop in Nigeria through franchise licenses and partnerships.

Christo Wiese is currently the controlling shareholder of Shoprite Holdings Ltd, Africa’s largest retailer, which has over 75 retail outlets in about 16 African countries. He is also the largest individual shareholder of Brait SA, one of the largest private equity companies in South Africa.

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