Woolworths shuts two clothing stores and exits Ghana

Cape Town-based fashion retailer Woolworths closed its two outlets in Accra at the end of July. It opened its first Ghanaian store in 2002 and added a second 12 years later.

Woolworths has not provided an explanation for this move, beyond stating that it followed “a comprehensive review of our operations in Ghana.” It added: “We remain confident in our overall Africa investment strategy, and we are experiencing healthy growth in the majority of our African countries.”

It currently has stores in ten African countries outside of its native South Africa: Botswana, eSwatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Having exited Nigeria in 2013, Woolworths no longer has a presence in West Africa.

The Sagaci Research View: The timing of this decision suggests that the fault is in Woolworths, not the Ghanaian economy, where growth in real GDP per capita has accelerated markedly over the past couple of years and stood at 4% in 2018, according to World Bank data. Indeed, the IMF recently forecast that Ghana would be the world’s fastest-growing economy in 2019, with GDP growth of 8.8%.

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