The top retailers in the world

The retail sector in South Africa is one which has stimulated plenty of debate since global giant Walmart sunk its teeth into local player Massmart. One of the big questions though is how do our local players shape up relative to their international peers.

The Global Powers of Retailing 2012 report, compiled by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL), in conjunction with STORES Media, identifies the 250 largest retailers around the world based on companies’ fiscal year 2010 data. To make the Top 250 list, retailers had to have minimum sales in 2010 of $3.29bn.

So how did South African and African retailers shape up? Shoprite Holdings, Africa’s largest food retailer, retained its first place ranking among the African and Middle East retailers that made it onto the Top 250 retailers list in 2012. With retail sales of $10.2bn, Shoprite was ranked 92out of 250.

Pick n Pay was the only retailer in the region to experience a sales decline in 2010, which dropped it from second place to third on the African and Middle East leader board. It also marked the first time that furniture and household goods retailer Steinhoff joined the Top 250 list – coming in at 218. Boosted by rand strength and solid growth, Spar inched up one place, to 4th on the regional list.

The reports shows that the Top 250 retailers based in Africa and the Middle East have enjoyed vigorous growth. Their composite retail sales growth (compound annual growth rate) of 15.4% over the 2005 – 2010 period, was the highest of all regions. It compared with a composite compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.7% across the list of 250 retailers.

Here are the top retailers in Africa and the Middle East according to the report. The second column shows where they line up in the Top 250 and it includes their annual turnover in US dollars.

In seeking out new growth prospects, retailers have had to look beyond their home borders. All eight of the Top250 retailers based in Africa or the Middle East had operations outside of their home country in 2010. While 85% of their total sales were derived from their domestic operations, their businesses extended into an average of 9.8 countries.

Strong composite retail growth in South America has not escaped notice; Shoprite’s CEO, Whitey Basson, has expressed an interest in Brazil, for instance.

South African retail shares have been propelled by foreign interest in gaining entry to the pan-African growth story. However, high multiples may be cause for concern. Although the South African retail sector has proved relatively resilient over recent months, retail sales growth in September eased more than anticipated to 4.3% year-on-year compared to the revised 6.7% growth in August.

The top 15 global retailers are listed below:



  1. Just read through the above article…interesting however, not amazed that Pick ‘n Pay had dropped. Their priced DO NOT justify their quality. Woolworths matched P’nP prices but way better quality. Specif eg: Claremont Pick ‘n Pay: We used to do our weekly shopping their and often complained about their fruit &veg section … still hasn’t been attended to – so we move to Woolworths where we pay that same price for MUCH BETTER quality!

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