SA's Game to open second outlet at Karen mall

Shoppers at Game Store in Garden City Mall. FILE PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG
Shoppers at Game Store in Garden City Mall. FILE PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG 

South African retailer Game Stores is set to open its second outlet in Kenya at the Waterfront Karen next year, replacing Nakumatt which was initially to be the mall's anchor tenant.

Game Stores, a subsidiary of South Africa’s Massmart Holdings, opened its first and only local outlet in May 2015 at the Garden City Mall located along Thika Road.

The Waterfront Karen, which is set to open its doors in January, is a multibillion shilling shopping complex being built by the family of the late wealthy poultry farmer Nelson Muguku.

"The choice of The Waterfront Karen as Game’s second store in the market signals renewed confidence in the retail sector and affirms the mall's unique retail proposition in the market," said Freda Rutere, the mall's development manager on Wednesday.

“The Waterfront Karen offers over 200,000 square feet of retail galleries and restaurants. The mall is set to offer a world class shopping and lifestyle experience for everyone who comes through its doors."

Nakumatt out

The managers of the shopping complex confirmed that Nakumatt had initially been signed as the anchor tenant but later went with competitor Game after the troubled retailer opted out.

"At the end of last year, on Nakumatt's request, the Waterfront Karen and Nakumatt agreed to mutually exit a Memorandum of Understanding they had entered into. As a result, The Waterfront Karen had to shop for another supermarket to occupy the space Nakumatt intended to take at the mall.

Nakumatt is currently facing financial constraints owing to a mountain of debt which has forced the business to close some outlets even as it fights liquidation proceedings by some of its creditors in court.

This week, Tuskys – which is seeking to merge with Nakumatt – took over two shop spaces vacated by the troubled retailer in Kisii and Kisumu, growing its branch count to 64 stores.

French retailer Carrefour has recently opened its third Nairobi store at Thika Road Mall (TRM), just two months after Nakumatt vacated the space.

Botswana retailer Choppies is set to open a new outlet in Kiambu Mall, where, just like Game at Waterfront Karen, it is taking up space previously allocated to then market leader Nakumatt.

Kenya has the second most developed retail market in sub-Saharan Africa with about 30 per cent of retail shopping being done in formal outlets, a Citigroup study has shown, whetting the appetite of global chains.