News: South Africa-based retailer Woolworths plans to shut three of its outlets in Nigeria, citing high rental costs and duties, and supply chain difficulties, Bloomberg reports. Woolworths CEO Ian Moir said the decision had to be made as the investments failed to generate viable returns despite several attempts to improve performance. Woolworths said it will still continue to expand its presence in the region in the future.
BMI View: We continue to maintain our positive long-term outlook on Nigeria's food and drink sector, despite some of the obstacles in the near term. Ongoing instability in the country's northern regions, and high rates of inflation, which increased 8.7% year-on-year in July 2013, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, is having a negative impact on consumer confidence. There is no doubt of the tremendous untapped potential of this emerging market, yet a lack of agricultural technology and transport infrastructure are holding back domestic production.