New retail entrants into the retail sector in Benin City, Edo State, have reported impressive sales and patronage, with the foreign and local players eking millions in revenue in a short period of operation in the state. `
The outlets cut across department stores, food and confectionaries chains and discount stores, which made incursion into the state on the back of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s market-creating reforms which has guaranteed a more stable business environment buffeted with stable power supply and necessary regulatory support for business growth.
It was gathered that the foreign outlet, Domino Pizza and Cold Stone Creamery, in the last two months of operation has raked in millions of naira, as it witnessed a flood of customers at the Sapele Road and Uselu outlets.
JARA discount stores operated under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Edo Development and Property Agency (EDPA) and EDLP Nigeria Limited, is said to be the darling of customers in the Sakponba axis of Benin City and environs. Market Square, another outlet, has also experienced impressive patronage since it opened shop in the state.
Speaking on the development, an economic expert and lecturer at the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Ikponmwosa Nosakhare, said the trend is attributable to the fact that the underground economy in Benin City fueled by diaspora remittances is larger and more buoyant than the formal sector.
According to him, “The trend is not uncommon given the peculiar nature of Benin City. Much as the state government is building a vibrant economic base to be driven by production and improved human capital, there is a vibrant underground economy that gets its livewire from diaspora remittances.”
An official of the Ministry of Wealth Creation, Cooperatives and Employment, who pleaded not to be quoted as he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said that the state is fast becoming a haven for new investment.
“Government is not oblivious of the coming on stream of new investors into the state. It is a deliberate strategy by the governor to ensure that the state is attractive to investors.
“Market Square has opened a new outlet in Aduwawa and JARA is also expanding to more locations in the state.”