In what was called the spirit of exploration, African nations spent centuries being exploited. As we move into the 21st century, there comes a story with an interesting twist as an African buys New Look, one of the largest chains of fashion retailers in the world for just over $1.2 billion.
Christo Wiese controls an organisation called Brait in South Africa and, after an early career in the legal profession, he bought Shoprite – which has since become Africa’s largest food retailer.
The lifestyle focus of Brait’s acquisitions is clear when you add in a chunk of frozen food retailer Iceland and its recent acquisition of the Virgin Active chain of gymnasiums.
Overall, New Look has more than 800 stores in countries across the globe and the chain has enjoyed an uplift in revenues and profits recently.
Here at Africa Fashion, we’re hoping that the building of this huge empire of related stores and businesses, will mean the creation of a creative chain of retailers – spreading out from Africa – allowing designers from the continent easier access to global markets.
Brait has a great track record of helping black families in South Africa take back land and we can only hope that this new venture will be one more step in the empowerment of the continent.
A New Look for South Africa is something to be welcomed.