South African supermarket group Shoprite has unveiled ambitious plans to invest R400 million (£28.8 million) to expand across Africa.

The retailer intends to enter new markets, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, before the end of next year and wants to open 50 stores in Nigeria, where it has one shop, having identified 16 possible sites. It will also add more stores in Ghana and Angola.

To facilitate growth – especially in Nigeria, which the company has flagged as one of its greatest growth opportunities – the retailer is considering setting up its own property arm to invest in suitable locations. Shoprite already manages a property portfolio covering eight countries and was valued last year at about R3.5 billion (£251.8 million).

In its domestic market, the retailer plans to open more than 58 stores by June. Shoprite is Africa’s largest food retailer and has 984 company-owned shops and 256 franchises across 17 countries in Africa, the Indian Ocean Islands and South Asia.

In the year to June, its sales jumped 22.3 per cent to R47.65 billion (£3.43 billion) and profits soared 46.1 per cent to R1.59 billion (£114.4 million).

Chief executive Whitey Basson said: “We have invested heavily in the correct positioning of our three supermarket brands, in our operations outside of South Africa and in extending and upgrading our infrastructure to support the growth we are now experiencing.”