ETHIOPIA – BelayabGroup, the parent company of Belayab Foods and Franchise, has acquired one of Ethiopia’s leading retail stores Bambis supermarket, for an undisclosed amount.

Belayab Group is a conglomerate with a diversified business portfolio ranging from hospitality, electric cables supply and food processing in addition to car assembly.

The group, which is also the franchisee of Pizza Hut in Ethiopia, seeks to revitalise operation of the retail chain which has been struggling to maintain the business.

Bambis was founded by a Greek entrepreneur, Charalambos N Tsimas, about 68 years ago and has had lingering issues with the Ethiopian Food, Medicine and Heath Care Authority, the Ethiopian Reporter reveals.

The retailer had unveiled plans of closing down its operations in April last year with the founder citing foreign exchange squeeze coupled with administrative bottlenecks as the major constrains that has compelled the management to reach the decision.

Aschalew Belay, the chairman of and founder of the Belayab Group confirmed the acquisition noting that the brand name of retail chain will however remain unchanged.

However, the supermarket will undergo an extensive renovation and will re-open just before the Ethiopian New Year, later this year.

Aschalew Belay, recently stated that the Group has been actively seeking for partnership with reputed international brands with an exciting range of products that would satisfy every consumer’s need along with strong brand reputation in the market as part of the group’s expansion plan.

With nearly 7 decades of presence in the country, Bambis had grown into a reputable brand within Ethiopia’s capital in a country where retailing remains underdeveloped with store-based retailing being dominated by informal and traditional operators.

Despite a forecast that the country has a potential for 15 to 20 new modern supermarkets and 5 to 10 new shopping centers in Addis Ababa, the presence of chains and international brands still remains weak.

According to a recent report by the Boston Consulting Group, in Addis Ababa, modern retail is in its early stages of development when compared to other sub-Saharan African countries.

The region counts of about 8 modern retailers are operating around 15 stores – who represent 0.5% of total grocery spending in the country.