Woolworths has signed a joint venture today with listed Nigerian company Chellarams Plc and will open 3 stores in December and plans to open 7 more stores over the next 2 years. Two stores will open in Lagos, one at The Palms and the other at Ikega. The third store will open in Polo Park in Enugu State in Nigeria. “We are confident about our investment in Nigeria and we are very pleased with the growth prospects of the Nigerian market. The country has a large population with significant and growing middle and upper income groups. We have found the right partner in Chellarams Plc to grow the Woolworths brand in Nigeria,” said John Fraser, Divisional Executive for Woolworths International. The joint venture is part of Woolworths plans to accelerate its expansion into other African countries. “Joint ventures with local partners, such as Chellarams Plc, is the new business model for our expansion plans in other African countries. We have moved away from the franchise model we had in the past in some African countries. It’s not only a better profit model for Woolworths, but it’s also better for customers,” said Fraser. Woolworths aims to open 16 stores in African countries this year taking the total number of stores to 60 in the current financial year. The new stores will be larger than current ones. Retail space will increase by 42% in the current financial year and by an estimated 145% over the next three years on the continent. Woolworths has had a presence in African countries for over 10 years and currently has stores in the following 10 countries: Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Mozambique. Woolworths also intends to open stores Angola. Ends Note to editors: See related press release: Woolworths expands its African presence: http://www.woolworthsholdings.co.za/media/our_news.asp?categoryyearid=8 For more information contact Woolworths Press Office: Tel: 021 – 407 7700 Cell: 082 782 3856 Email: pressoffice@woolworths.co.za