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Carrefour moves to fill Nakumatt void in Uganda

Carrefour Two Rivers
Carrefour Two Rivers outlet on April 29. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG 

French retailer Carrefour is set to open its first branch in Kampala as it moves to take up space previously occupied by struggling Kenyan retailer Nakumatt.

Carrefour, whose local franchise is held by Dubai-based conglomerate Majid Al Futtaim, said the store set to be opened in the next few months at Oasis Mall in Kampala will employ about 150 locals.

It will stock fast-moving consumer goods such as packaged foods, beverages and electronics among other household items.

In a statement Tuesday, Majid Al Futtaim chief executive Hani Weiss described the planned opening of the new store in Kampala as a key milestone in the firm’s East Africa expansion plans.

“Uganda is considered one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, and we are delighted to partner with local stakeholders to offer a world-class retail experience to the Ugandan community, specifically tailored to their needs,” he said.

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“This announcement brings us a step closer towards realising our long-term expansion plan for East Africa.”

Carrefour last year opened its sixth store at the Junction Mall taking up space previously occupied by struggling retailer Nakumatt as part of an aggressive regional expansion plan.

Its other branches are located at the Hub in Karen, Village Market, Two Rivers Mall, Thika Road Mall and at Sarit Centre mall in Westlands. The retailer also operates an outlet at Galleria Mall.

Carrefour recorded sales worth Sh13.87 billion from its Kenyan outlets last year, a 71 percent jump from 2017 in an indication that its aggressive expansion is paying off.

Its expansion plan into the East African market comes as a positive development in a sector that has in recent years been in the spotlight for the wrong reasons as retail chains collapsed under a mountain of debt.

Nakumatt, which was until recently the country’s biggest retailer, has been the worst-hit along with Uchumi Supermarkets. They have been thrown out of their former prime spaces in Nairobi as well as across the country over non-payment of rent running into tens of millions of shillings.

The collapse of Nakumatt and Uchumi created a void in the retail sector that has seen local and international chains scrambling to fill.

South Africa-based Shoprite opened its second outlet at Garden City Mall on Thika Road with plans to set up more branches at the Karen Waterfront Mall and Mombasa’s Nyali City this year.

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