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• The Financial Times reports that four years after Walmart's purchase of a controlling stake in Massmart, the South African retailer that it hoped to use to propel it to significant growth on that continent, Kenya has proven to be a particularly tough nut to crack.

According to the story, "The US retail giant has spent the past few years trying — and failing — to crack the east African hub, whose growth is fuelled by aspirational consumption ... Although Kenya is richly coveted by retailers and the foreign investors who back them, entry into the sector is notoriously difficult, thanks to a series of tightly held family-owned supermarket chains and a dearth of affordable space."

FT goes on: "Massmart’s chain Game already has 172 other outlets in 11 African countries, but Kenya has long been the prize beyond its reach. It is also a potential pathway for expanding Walmart’s existing presence in east Africa, a region of 240m people.

"At $53bn, Kenya’s economy is far smaller than Nigeria’s $509bn economy — Africa’s largest — where Game already has stores. But it holds the retail crown for the continent. While only 5 per cent of Nigeria’s retail sector consists of formal shopping, rather than open-air markets and small kiosks, in Kenya the proportion is 30 per cent."
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