Jumia Doubles Down on Nigeria in Struggle to Turn Profitable (Bloomberg)

May 16, 2024Company News
  • Jumia consolidates Nigeria depots to cut costs, set for growth

  • African e-commerce firm to expand into more Nigerian cities

By Loni Prinsloo

May 16, 2024 at 4:59 AM GMT

Updated on May 16, 2024 at 12:40 PM GMT

E-retailer Jumia Technologies AG plans to focus on Nigeria, Africa’s most-populous nation, as part of a bid to turn profitable.

The New York-listed e-commerce firm will consolidate its three warehouses in Nigeria to one 30,000 square-meter depot in Lagos in an effort to cut costs, Chief Executive Officer Francis Dufay said in an interview. The company will also add more cities it services in the West African nation, he said.

Jumia, which has yet to report an annual profit, expects Nigeria — home to 200 million people — to give it scale and help break even. It’s a gamble because lack of dollars and rising cost of living have forced multinational companies including Procter & Gamble Co., GSK Plc and Bayer AG to exit.

“We want to be sized and organized for significant growth,” Dufay said. “Jumia sees the macro situation in Nigeria as temporary, and expects it to turn positive in the medium term.”Jumia reported an operating loss of $8.33 million in the first quarter of the year, while revenue rose 5.7% to $48.9 million. The company’s shares have plunged about 90% from a record reached in the middle of the pandemic, when people were relying on e-commerce services.

“We need to build scale,” Dufay said in a separate interview at the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha with Joumanna Bercetche. “We know that customers are heavily price-conscious, so we need a very lean structure on our end, so we can deliver very low prices on everything, including delivery and all services.”

In Nigeria, Jumia’s biggest market, the central bank has devalued the naira twice in a year. Most Nigerians struggle with electricity supply and congestion at Nigeria’s ports have compounded its economic woes.

Still, Dufay said the company is seeing demand match population growth on the continent.

Jumia is betting on economic revival in the West African nation as President Bola Tinubu and the central bank try to introduce policies to slow inflation and lure investors.

For now, Jumia is preserving its cash reserves. It has also introduced buy-now-pay-later financing option to woo customers struggling with rising prices.

We are also very reactive in pricing as Nigeria remains a huge market for consumer demand, and our business is not stopping,

said Dufay

Follow Bloomberg’s reporting on Africa on WhatsApp. Sign up here.(Updates with comment from CEO in eighth paragraph. A previous version corrected the company’s listing location.)

Read the original article on Bloomberg

About Jumia

Jumia is a leading e-commerce platform in Africa. Our marketplace is supported by our proprietary logistics business, Jumia Logistics, and our digital payment and fintech platform, JumiaPay. Jumia Logistics enables the seamless delivery of millions of packages while JumiaPay facilitates online payments and the distribution of a broad range of digital and financial services.

Follow us on, Linkedin Jumia Group and twitter @Jumia_Group

For more information about Jumia:
Abdesslam Benzitouni
[email protected]