Africa a promissing continent for retailers

The brand plans to double its network of stores in Africa and the Middle East within three years. It will have 40 outlets outside mainland France by the end of 2023.

Gémo is pursuing its development in Africa and the Middle East, an area where the company intends to focus most of its international expansion. Since last November, the Eram Group subsidiary has opened four stores in this region, including one in Cameroon, one in Gabon and two others in Saudi Arabia.

In 2023, the company will open stores in Mauritius, Madagascar, Dakar (Senegal) and three sites in Saudi Arabia. The aim is to increase the number of sales outlets in Africa and the Middle East from 10 to 20 by 2026. More globally, the company will have 40 stores outside mainland France (including overseas territories) by the end of 2023, which will account for 10% of its export sales.

“We are fairly new to international development,” explains Julia Decarsin, Gémo’s international director. “As Europe is already well connected, we are betting on the southern hemisphere, including sub-Saharan Africa, which has the potential for strong development. Gémo also believes it is well positioned to appeal to the “upwardly mobile middle class” in Africa with its offer of women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, footwear and accessories under one roof.

The brand initially envisaged a more rapid development internationally with the intention of reaching 100 stores by 2025. But the Covid crisis has reshuffled the cards. The development will therefore take place at a more reasonable pace, explains Julia Decarsin. It will also depend on the pace at which partnerships are formed with franchise candidates. The stores in this area will generally be half the size of the French outlets, which are generally close to 1,500 m2.

These African and Middle Eastern stores are served by the group’s logistics platform located in Saint-Pierre-Montlimart, headquarters of the Eram group and Gémo. The company now has 430 stores, including 390 in mainland France, where the majority of sales outlets are branches, and nearly 70 affiliates. With 3,800 employees, Gémo will have sales of €906 million in 2022, compared with €845 million in 2021 and €720 million in 2020.


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