Tunisia is ranked 15th in the 2008 Global Retail Development Index (GRDI), along with Egypt, Algeria, Mexico and Latvia. North Africa has three countries in the top 15 rankings this year. They are, on average, projected to grow by more than 6% in 2008 and are benefiting from tourism, trade with Europe and periods of political and economic stability.
With seven countries among the top 20 in the 2008 Index , the Middle East/North Africa region is clearly the world’s hottest region for retail expansion.
The strong Euro supporting investment in the region, consumer familiarity with modern retail concepts and petrodollar wealth are the primary factors making the region an attractive retail destination.
With more than $9 trillion flowing into the region by 2020, infrastructure investments will spur consumer and retail growth over the next decade, according to A.T. Kearney.
‘The Middle East with its retail opportunity is more compelling than ever,’ said Robert Ziegler, Vice President, A.T. Kearney Dubai. ‘These markets will provide the engines for continued growth and profits for global retailers as sales in their home countries turn sluggish.’
Published since 2001, the GRDI helps retailers prioritize their global development strategies by ranking the retail expansion attractiveness of emerging countries based on a set of 25 variables including economic and political risk, retail market attractiveness, retail saturation levels and the difference between gross domestic product growth and retail growth. The GRDI focuses on opportunities for mass merchant and food retailers, which are typically the bellwether for modern retailing concepts in a country.
Among the gulf countries, Saudi Arabia, with a robust 9% growth rate and low retail consolidation − less than 7% of the market is held by the top 5 retail players – is among the most attractive global retail destinations. North Africa has three countries in the top 15 rankings this year – Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. These countries are, on average, projected to grow by more than 6% in 2008 and are benefiting from tourism, trade with Europe and periods of political and economic stability.
‘European retailers are especially well suited for expansion in the Middle East and North Africa because of proximity and consumer familiarity with their brands,’ said Ziegler. ‘However, laws in some markets make entry difficult and lead to low brand diversification and limited consumer choices.’
The Middle East and North Africa have risen strongly while Vietnam has ended India’s three-year reign as the most attractive emerging market destination for retail investment according to the report.