Nakumatt will Friday open shop at Kasarani, making a comeback along the Thika Superhighway after its earlier outlet along the road was demolished in 2008 to pave way for the expansion of the highway.
The retailer is eying shoppers in the residential estates of Zimmerman, Githurai, Kasarani, Kahawa and Ruaraka through the Thika Road Mall to reclaim its market share along the busy freeway.
Listed supermarket chain Uchumi took advantage of its rival’s exit from the highway to set up its Jipange outlet in 2009, which sits next to Roasters Inn, the location where Nakumatt had its store.
Nakumatt’s only branch off the eight-lane highway is located in the middle class residential district of Kahawa Wendani. Second tier supermarket Naivas also has an outlet at Kasarani.
Thika Road Mall becomes the first mega shopping complex along the highway, where residents have had to contend with independent supermarkets such as Kassmatt in Githurai, Home Depot in Zimmerman and Cleanshelf in Kahawa West.
READ: Supermarkets take competition to Thika superhighway
The family-owned business is also scheduled to open a new mall in Thika town by the end of month, bringing to 40 its total number of outlets across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.
“This will provide a good platform to carry forward our quest to expand at a Pan African level,” said Atul Shah, managing director Nakumatt Holdings.
“We expect the market to develop further as consumers continue to embrace formal retail options and solutions, which we are striving to deepen,” Mr Shah said in a statement.
The return of Nakumatt to Thika Road is likely to spark off a fresh battle among retailers eying consumers who reside along the flanks of the superhighway.
Supermarkets are attracted by the growing size of multiple housing estates on the wings of the road which are now drawing many people to the area after the road upgrade.
Uchumi says it plans to expand its existing Jipange convenient store. Tuskys has booked space at a mall currently under construction 100 metres away from Uchumi’s shop.
Nakumatt is also scheduled to open a new outlet at Garden City, billed as East Africa’s largest shopping mall by December 2014; further tightening its grip on the superhighway retail market.
The retailers are also eying those travelling along Thika Superhighway.