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Corporate

Nakumatt acknowledges issues with suppliers amid growing debt

A Nakumatt outlet at Garden City Mall in
A Nakumatt outlet at Garden City Mall in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE 

Nakumatt Supermarkets has admitted suffering stock outs at its branches, attributing the problem to what it termed as “a challenging period” for the retailer.

The retail chain’s chief marketing officer Andrew Dixon said the firm is working with suppliers to resume normal deliveries.

“We recognise the prevailing issue in some of our outlets concerning operations and stocking,” Mr Dixon said in a statement.

“We are undergoing a challenging period in our business operations which has necessitated a number of rapid interventions. I would like to reassure you that we are on course to regularise our operations and stocks in coming days,” said the ex-Tesco executive who joined Nakumatt a fortnight ago.

Nakumatt Supermarkets is currently closing in on a $75 million (Sh7.5 billion) deal to sell a 25 per cent stake to a strategic investor to retire the retail chain’s heavy debt burden. The reported transaction values the business at about Sh30 billion.

The retail chain’s gross debt more than tripled in as many years to Sh15 billion in the period to February 2015 from Sh4.2 billion in 2011, exerting pressure on operations and resulting in long payment delays to suppliers, according to South African rating agency GCR.

The supermarket chain earlier said the ongoing cash crunch has seen some overdue amounts “rescheduled arising from mutual engagements with various suppliers who appreciate the prevailing challenges,” highlighting the depth of the challenge.

Nakumatt, Tuskys and Naivas jointly owed manufacturers Sh8 billion in unpaid dues as at September last year, with some payments dating back to early 2014, the suppliers said in a protest letter.

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