Carrefour, a French international hypermarket chain, is set to make an entry into Kenya by leasing space at the upcoming Two Rivers shopping centre in Runda.
The Two Rivers project is the brain child of the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed investment firm Centum, which has lately raised its stake in real estate with an eye on double-digit returns that the sector has yielded over the past decade.
Centum CEO James Mworia said in an interview that Carrefour has booked 100,000 square feet or 16.1 per cent of the 620,000 square-feet shopping complex expected to be complete by October next year.
“Majid Al Futtaim will be one of the tenants at our mall, bringing the Carrefour franchise,” said James Mworia, Centum’s chief executive.
This will mark the second major investment of the Dubai-based Al Futtaim family in Kenya following the purchase this year of motor dealer CMC Holdings by Abdulla Al Futtaim for Sh7.5 billion through his Al Futtaim Group.
Majid Al Futtaim, who runs the Carrefour franchise in Dubai, is Abdulla Al Futtaim’s cousin.
The Paris-based Carrefour is billed as the world’s second largest retailer after Walmart. It stocks over 20,000 products including fresh produce, clothing, electronics and household appliances.
Mr Mworia said several other international retailers have also signed up, taking about half the mall’s space. Infrastructure works for the multi-billion-shilling property complex have already started.
The Two Rivers complex sits on a 100-acre property in the Runda/Gigiri area along Limuru Road.
Mr Mworia said the first phase will see the construction of two office towers, a hotel, and the mall among other units.
Occupying a total space of 58,000 square metres, Two Rivers is tipped to be the biggest in the country ahead of the upcoming Garden City along Thika Road at 50,000 square metres.
It is situated at the heart of the affluent Runda, Nyari, Gigiri and Muthaiga neighbourhoods. This will be Majid Al Futtaim’s second branch in Africa having established a Carrefour store in Egypt.
The local Carrefour outlet is expected to replicate the firm’s strategy of stocking major brands alongside its own branded items, with most of the fresh produce such as beef and vegetables sourced from local suppliers.
Its entry is set to raise competition in the retail sector currently dominated by Nakumatt, Uchumi, and Tuskys supermarkets.
Majid Al Futtaim is expected to open more Carrefour stores in the region. “The franchise agreement between Majid Al Futtaim Retail and Carrefour was extended to include 38 countries in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and Russia,” the Dubai firm said in a statement.
“By 2014, Majid Al Futtaim Retail expects to reach 66 hypermarkets and 79 supermarkets and expand its territory in six new markets.”
Majid Al Futtaim —which also deals in property development and private equity— recorded sales and a net profit of Sh546.7 billion and Sh47 billion respectively in the year ended December.