The opening of Ermenegildo Zegna’s first shop in Lagos in December last year is a sign that the luxury goods market in Nigeria is on the move. The Italian menswear’s first stand-alone store in sub-Sahara Africa is on Victoria Island at 175 Akin Adesola Street.
Zegna, whose only other shops on the African continent are in Cairo and Casablanca, has been in talks for several years with a key name in Nigerian fashion, designer and entrepreneur Tope Edu who has all the right connections among the rich and trendy in Lagos. It had plans to launch in 2011 but hesitated before making the leap into an unknown market where the Zegna name is not quite as fashionable as Gucci, Armani or Versace.
However its arrival in Lagos, which doesn’t yet have its own luxury retail zone or street, is a sign that Nigerian buyers of up-market goods, who traditionally prefer to shop abroad in London, Milan, New York or Paris, could now be tempted to buy at home.
Zegna estimates that about 2,000 of its customers are Africans who on average spend 50 per cent more than its typical shopper.
If the Nigerian operation goes well Zegna has plans to move south to Luanda and then on to South Africa and maybe even Mozambique.