Much behind the initial target set for the end of 2021, but with great fanfare, CFAO Consumer Retail is opening the doors of the PlaYce Yaoundé shopping center, which it designed and operates, this July 6. The day before, an audience of ministers and leaders – including Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, secretary general of the presidency, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, Cameroonian trade minister, and Jean-Christophe Brindeau, general manager of the CFAO Consumer Retail division – chaired the the inauguration of the structure in the district of Warda in Yaoundé.
After the two PlaYce shopping centers in Côte d’Ivoire (Marcory and Palmeraie), the opening of this third shopping center allows the Japanese-French group to set up the first shopping center of this scale in Africa central.
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First hypermarket in Cameroon
Located opposite the Yaoundé Sports Palace, in the heart of the city, this shopping center is built on 35,000 m² of land for 12,000 m² of commercial area and cost 38.1 million euros (more than 25 billion CFA francs). “An investment strongly impacted by the Covid crisis on the financial level, which makes it the largest of the group to date in Africa, not to mention the delays it has caused”, recalls Jean-Christophe Brindeau. But the group wants to be optimistic at the time of the opening: “94% of the rental area is already rented and 19 shops out of the 46 will open their doors tomorrow”, assures Pascale Theze, the manager of shopping centers at CFAO Retail. Cameroon.
Promoter of the shopping center, CFAO Consumer Retail is also operator of the Carrefour hypermarket contained within. This is the first in the country, while the brand is spreading in the Cameroonian capital and in Douala. At the end of 2020, CFAO inaugurated a Carrefour Market within the Douala Grand Mall shopping center, owned by the British fund Actis. The third of its kind after a first Carrefour Market in Bonamoussadi (Douala) and Ékié (Yaoundé).
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“This Carrefour Warda hypermarket allows us to strengthen our relations with the 400 Cameroonian partners with whom we have established links and to further develop this network”, commented Luc Demez, Director general of CFAO Consumer Retail Cameroon. The brand is also participating in a strong response to the competition, in particular to BAO of the French group Casino, present in the segment low cost and on which CFAO promotes Supéco. By aligning a Carrefour offering more than 20,000 article references on the shelves, the group no longer knows a rival in the entire sub-region.
An Ambitious but Little Realized Partnership
Overall, CFAO expects 4 million annual visitors to PlaYce Yaoundé in the fifty or so shops and restaurants, including its Carrefour hypermarket – its partner – acts as a clientele driver. Among the international brands present in this new shopping center, three (out of five) are members of the “Club of CFAO Consumer Retail brands” (Jules, Lacoste and La Grande Récré). To achieve its objectives, the group was also able to measure the potential of the Cameroonian market, with ten cities with more than 200,000 inhabitants and rare competition from players of its caliber, apart from Casino.
In Cameroon, CFAO wants to catch up on Casino
Born in 2015, with the opening of the first PlaYce shopping center in Abidjan, the partnership model between CFAO and Carrefour had strong ambitions. In particular, “several dozen” places were to see the light of day in eight African countries (Cameroon, Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria, DRC and Senegal), according to prospects during the inauguration of its first shopping center. . Almost seven years later, it is clear that the model is slow to be duplicated and out of eight countries, only two are currently become reality.