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Massmart In Talks To Enter Kenya

By Devon Maylie JOHANNESBURG--South African retailer Massmart Holdings Ltd. (MMRTY, MSM.JO) said Tuesday that it's in talks to open its first store in Kenya, the latest step to expand since Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) bought a majority stake in the business. Massmart, South Africa's third-largest general retailer, has so far been slow to add to its existing store fleet in the rest of Africa since Wal-Mart received all regulatory approvals for its $2.4 billion deal to buy a 51% stake in the company in March. Wal-Mart's entry into South Africa was seen by many in the industry as a springboard to tapping growth in the rest of Africa. Massmart said last year that in the next three years the company plans to add five to six stores in major cities in other parts of the continent to tap into the growing consumer class. Retailers have been scrambling to grow in the rest of Africa. South Africa's Shoprite Group raised $1 billion in bonds and new stock in March to fuel expansion into markets including Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, adding to the 223 stores in 16 countries it already has outside South Africa. While growth in many parts of the world is stagnating, Africa's growth is hovering above 5%--with rates approaching 10% in Angola and Ghana. Many companies are betting on consumer spending power to grow along with GDP. Massmart said Tuesday that it's in "advanced" disucssions with a developer in Nairobi to open a Game, a line of discount general merchandise stores, without giving any more details. Private equity firm Actis said in a release last week that Game committed to renting retail space in a new 50,000 square meter mall it's developing in Nairobi. Massmart operates in 13 countries in Africa with a total of 105 Game stores. Write to Devon Maylie at devon.maylie@wsj.com

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