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Naivas takes over Uchumi, Nakumatt stores in October

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Uchumi supermarkets along Agha Khan walk Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Naivas Supermarket is set to take over Uchumi’s city centre outlet in Nairobi and open a new store in Malindi next month, underlining its aggressive expansion plan.
  • The first outlet will be on the Aga Khan Walk within the central business district in Nairobi, which the struggling Uchumi Supermarket previously occupied.

Naivas Supermarket is set to take over Uchumi’s city centre outlet in Nairobi and open a new store in Malindi next month, underlining its aggressive expansion plan.

The first outlet will be on the Aga Khan Walk within the central business district in Nairobi, which the struggling Uchumi Supermarket previously occupied.

The second premise is at the Malindi Mall, which hosted the collapsed Nakumatt Supermarket, targeting hundreds of shoppers around the region.

The two branches come at a time Naivas is racing against time to defend its market leadership against competitors that have been expanding in the past few months.

“The other stores lined up for opening next month include Aga Khan walk in Nairobi CBD and Malindi,” Naivas chief commercial officer Willy Kimani told the Business Daily yesterday.

The new stores are expected to raise the retailer’s branch network to 78. The retailer last week opened its 76th branch in Juja City Mall off Thika Road.

Naivas has over the past few months been on an aggressive expansion spree, taking up prime space the troubled rivals vacated. It gained financial muscle to fire the growth after signing an agreement with France-based private equity (PE) fund Amethis Finance to sell a 30 percent stake last year.

Besides the two stores the retailer plans to open in Nairobi and Malindi, Naivas also has a branch in Kisumu at Simba Club Hall next to United Mall targeting hundreds of shoppers in the region. The Kisumu branch came barely a few months after Tuskys ceased operations at the outlet on dwindling cash flow.

QuickMart, which had 45 stores as of May, plans to open a few more in the coming weeks.

The two retailers have been spending heavily on expansion to fill voids the collapsed and beleaguered supermarkets left.

Tuskys, for instance, has been rapidly shutting stores on the back of heavy debt and insufficient working capital. The collapse of former retail giant Nakumatt also left scores of prime locations that Naivas and Carrefour have taken over.