Uchumi hires operations consultant after Naivas raid

Listed retailer Uchumi Supermarkets has hired an operations consultant as part of ongoing efforts to turn around the business.

Uchumi, which recently lost its chief operations officer Willy Kimani to rival Naivas, has announced the appointment of Peter Kamau as an advisor to help the retailer’s “overall stabilisation and growth strategy.”

Julius Kipng’etich, Uchumi’s chief executive, says the retailer is looking to tap Mr Kamau’s experience in the retail sector to help the company turn around its dwindling fortunes.

Mr Kamau has over 18 years’ experience in the private sector.

Cutting costs to stay afloat

He has previously worked at Bidvest Foods Kenya, Nairobi Kitchencare Limited and Tusker Mattress Limited.

“Peter’s knowledge of retail operations, local and international experience will be invaluable as we look to define more innovative solutions for our customers and endeavour to stabilise our business,” said Mr Kipng’etich.

READ: Uchumi secures approval for sale of Nairobi properties

Also read: Uchumi puts up Nairobi mall for sale

Earlier this week, Uchumi lost its COO Willy Kimani to rival Naivas, barely eight months into the job.

Mr Kipng’etich had head-hunted Mr Kimani from rival retail chain Naivas and made him his COO hoping to tap his experience in the industry to drive his turnaround plans for the troubled company.

Uchumi has been shrinking its branch count, laying off staff and cutting costs to stay afloat.

The retailer faces a winding up suit which it has vigorously fought against, including by trying to persuade the litigants to drop the case and convert their debt into equity.

The supermarket also needs a cash injection to boost its operating capital. The government has teamed up with other shareholders in a bid to craft a bailout plan.

“Mr Kamau will oversee the business operations of Uchumi as well as leverage strategic business partnerships in a bid to advance the overall customer experience,” the retailer said in a statement.