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Carrefour Lures West Africa Shoppers From Markets Into Malls

  • French chain has space in booming new Ivory Coast center
  • Grocers see potential in customers used to informal markets
Carrefour signage sits on top of the Cosmos Shopping Mall in Abidjan.
Carrefour signage sits on top of the Cosmos Shopping Mall in Abidjan.Photographer: Katarina Höije/Bloomberg
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Battered minibus taxis snake the perimeter of Ivory Coast’s latest shopping hotspot, a brand new mall in a sprawling Abidjan suburb that shows how grocers like France’s Carrefour SA are turning their attention to lower-income African customers.

The parking lot reserved for car owners lies empty, contrasting with the throng of shoppers inside the crowded $30 million Cosmos Mall, which opened in October. They include Nafua Karamoko, a 30-year-old teacher and mother of two who has recently converted to the convenience of supermarkets from informal marketplaces.