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French retailer Carrefour records Sh18.7bn in sales

Carrefour signage at The Hub Karen Mall where it is the anchor tenant. PHOTO | KARI MUTU | NMG
Carrefour signage at The Hub Karen Mall where it is the anchor tenant. PHOTO | KARI MUTU | NMG  

French retail chain Carrefour recorded sales worth Sh18.7 billion from its Kenyan outlets last year, the company has disclosed in its annual financial report.

Majid Al Futtaim, the exclusive holder of Carrefour’s franchise in Kenya, announced the 28 percent jump in sales from Sh14.6 billion recorded in 2018 indicating that its aggressive expansion bid across major towns in Kenya was paying off.

The retailer said since launching in Kenya four years ago, the franchise of the French hypermarket chain had grown faster than expected, attracting a strong clientele base among the country’s expanding middle class.

The retailer announced plans to continue the expansion of its retail and entertainment business across key markets, including in Africa.

“In 2020, Majid Al Futtaim Retail will open its first store in Uzbekistan, with plans for further expansion to new markets in Central Asia and Africa and scale up its e-commerce capacity to meet growing online demand, through innovative fulfilment solutions,” the group said in the report.

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The retailer has been expanding its presence in Kenya taking over spaces previously occupied by struggling supermarket chains, including Nakumatt and Uchumi, as well as opening new outlets to cash in on the underserved market.

The retailer has seven branches in Kenya with the eighth one set to open on Uhuru Highway near Nyayo roundabout-taking over space previously occupied by the collapsed retailer Nakumatt.

The branch, which was set to be opened before the end of March, has faced delays due to the current Covid-19 pandemic.

The retailer’s other branches are also strategically located at the Hub in Karen, Village Market, Two Rivers Mall, Thika Road Mall and Sarit Centre in Westlands.

One-time market leader Nakumatt, now under administration, and cash-strapped Uchumi, have shut the majority of their branches.

The gap left by the collapse of the two retailers has created a void in the sector that has local and international chains scrambling to fill.

The spirited entry into Kenya by multinational chain stores like Game and Shoprite is stiffening competition, pitting new players against the local family-owned retailers.

French firm Amethis recently bought a 30 percent stake in Naivas to back the expansion of the retailer.

Majid Al Futtaim made public its Kenya annual sales in a newly-released financial report that also puts its local assets as of December 2018 at Sh7.2 billion, up from Sh4.3 billion in December 2018.

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