Tuskys re-opens Ugandan branch after 11 months

Tuskys chief executive Daniel Githua. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA
Tuskys chief executive Daniel Githua. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA 

Tuskys supermarket has re-opened its Uganda branch which was shut down by health officials last year after being accused of stocking rotten meat.

The Kampala (Bwaise) branch was closed after an abrupt visit by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) who found stocks of rotten chicken and beef in the retail chain’s freezers as well as expired goods on its shelves.

Tuskys closed the branch to facilitate investigations and subsequent renovations as per Uganda’s health requirements.

On Tuesday, the retailer’s chief executive officer Dan Githua said they spent Sh150 million to upgrade the branch.

“Today marks yet another happy moment for our Uganda subsidiary Tuskys Uganda, with the reopening of a fully refurbished and modernised Bwaise branch,” said Mr Githua in a statement.

The re-opened branch will employ 100 staff. Tuskys Uganda has a total workforce of 900. The authority had also accused Tuskys supermarket of using toxic chemicals to reserve fresh meat, creating a health threat to consumers.

“We shall continue to execute our steady expansion in East Africa in line with our strategic plan,” added Mr Githua.

The Ugandan authorities had at the time ordered the closure of four more Tuskys outlets which were however re-opened soon after being cleared.

The affected outlet was opened by Tuskys chief operating officer Peter Leparachao and Tuskys Uganda Country Manager Hassan Ali.

Tuskys entered Uganda in 2009 through the acquisition of Half Price and Good Price supermarkets for an undisclosed amount.

The two were subsidiaries of G.K.O. Medicines Limited, which is a health firm. After the buyout, Tuskys embarked on establishing independent outlets in the country as it sought growth through expansion to boost its revenue.

Currently, it has seven branches in Uganda with a total of 59 branches both in Kenya and in the region. Its outlets in Uganda are located in Makerere, Kitintale, Nakulabye, Bugolobi, Bwaise and Seeta within the Uganda’s capital.

Tuskys supermarket recently suspended 90 employees from one of its outlets in Nairobi over what it termed internal theft where employees who were colluding with an external cartel illegally clearing goods and reselling them.

The matter is still under investigation and has also involved detectives from the Criminal Investigations Department.

Locally, main retailers like Nakumatt, Tuskys and Uchumi have expanded to regional markets to broaden their outlook and increase their bottom line after making their footprint in the local market.

Nakumatt supermarkets recently acquired three outlets previously owned by South African retail giant Shoprite. Last year, Uchumi acquired Dar es Salaam-based Sifamart Supermarkets.