Opportunities multiply as African ventures eye wider horizons

Supermarket group Choppies wants to have 200 stores by the end of next year

When Choppies opened its first store in Lobatse, a small town in Botswana, its ambition was limited to becoming a retailer of substance in its domestic market.

Progress was slow. It took seven years after the first supermarket opened its doors in 1986 for the family-owned company to open its second — again in Lobatse. By 1999, the group was still limited to the two outlets. But in the years since, its expansion has been rapid and the contrast with its current operations — and its ambitions — is stark. Today, Choppies boasts 126 stores across three countries, including South Africa and Zimbabwe. It has recently announced an agreement with a Kenyan company, Ukwala, to acquire 10 stores in the east African nation; and it is working on greenfield expansions in Zambia and Tanzania.

Read more: Opportunities multiply and African ventures eye wider horizons – FT.com