Naivas takes over Uchumi space at Capital Centre Mall

A Naivas supermarket's outlet in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG.
A Naivas supermarket's outlet in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG. 

Naivas Supermarkets has taken over Uchumi Supermarkets’ #ticker:UCHM space at Mombasa Road’s Capital Centre Mall.

Uchumi announced late last month that it would surrender the space at the end of January to seek out “more profitable locations.”

“We have taken over that shop,” Naivas chief operating officer Willy Kimani said in an interview on Thursday.

“Within two months we will start operations.”

Uchumi, which is shopping for an equity investor to bail it out, said the branch was recording low customer footfall, precipitating the decision to exit the space.

But Mr Kimani termed the Capital Centre Mall location prime for retail business, claiming its rival Uchumi faced “unique challenges.”

“That location is perfect for business. It is completely underserved and we believe that is one of the main arteries of Nairobi so definitely it is a store that will work,” said Mr Kimani.

Uchumi had been an anchor tenant at the mall for over two decades.

The new location brings Naivas’ total store count around the country to 45.

Naivas, a family-owned retail chain, has recently opened several stores as an anchor tenant in key city malls bucking a trend of closures by its local rivals including Uchumi and Nakumatt; now under administration.

New stores by the growth-hungry Naivas include a branch at Ciata City Mall along Kiambu Road, another at the junction of Kenyatta and Moi avenues, and an outlet on Moi Avenue vacated by Nakumatt Holdings — another financially trouble retailer and formerly the biggest supermarket chain in the country.