French retail giant Carrefour has signalled plans to cross Kenyan borders two years after launching in Nairobi.
Carrefour, whose local franchise is held by Dubai-based conglomerate Majid Al Futtaim Carrefour, has four outlets in the country. It opened its first outlet at The Hub, a shopping mall located in Nairobi’s upmarket Karen suburb in 2016 followed by its second store in March 2017, at the Two Rivers Mall.
In November last year the company opened the third store at the Thika Road Mall.
Mid last month Carrefour — ranked the world’s second-largest supermarket chain after Wal-Mart Stores — opened its latest outlet at the Junction Mall space, which was vacated by struggling rival Nakumatt Holdings last October.
Majid Al Futtaim chief executive officer Alain Bejjani said in a statement on Wednesday that the firm is seeking to expand beyond Kenya.
“We think the Saudi market is a great market. It has a lot of potential and we are very happy with the reforms that are happening there,” Mr Bejjani was quoted saying by the local media. “With regards to Africa, ...we are looking to expand beyond Kenya as well.”
Carrefour’s entry was expected to pose new competition especially to the market leader Nakumatt, which targets similar clientele to the French giant.
Its intention to expand its regional footprint comes at a time Kenyan retailers have beat a hasty retreat from regional markets. Majid Al-Futtaim’s franchise contract extends to much of East Africa.
Troubled Nakumatt now under administration and its equally distressed rival Uchumi Supermarkets had expanded into the region but are now quickly retreating from East African markets.
Botswana retailer Choppies which entered the Kenyan market by taking over several Ukwala stores in 2016 is equally eyeing expansion into the African market bucking the trend that has seen several indigenous supermarkets announce branch closures in recent months.