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Nakumatt exits Mega after 26 years of tenancy

 Nakumatt Mega Supermarket
Leaving Nakumatt Mega Supermarket. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA  

Troubled retailer Nakumatt has lost its Mega branch along Uhuru Highway after 26 years in business at the property.

The closure will deal a major blow to the firm as it is the chain’s most profitable branch in terms of sales.

The supermarket and all its tenants at the Mega outlet are to vacate the property at the end of the month upon expiry of its current lease.

“The lease expires on September 30. The landlord wants to re-develop the property,” said Peter Kahi, the retail chain’s administrator, on Monday.

Nakumatt sent a notice to all its tenants at the branch to clear out of the premises as the supermarket chain no longer reserves rights to the property upon expiry of the lease.

The property houses a Safaricom support centre, chemist, salon, gift shop, bookstore, courier, ATMs and clothing stores among other businesses. Nakumatt staff at the branch, which opened in 1992, will according to Mr Kahi be redeployed to other outlets.

It posted revenues of Sh12.7 billion in the three years to February 2017 according to recent audit report by Mr Kahi.

This is the second major hit for Nakumatt after it lost its Ukay Centre branch in the ongoing demolitions by the National Environment Management Authority (Nema).

“Not much (impact on recovery plans) since the two branches will be replaced with new others,” said Mr Kahi.

Following the closure of Mega, the firm will now have five branches. The retailer reopened its Highridge branch and Mr Kahi indicated that they were looking at available options for Mega.

Early this month, Nakumatt exited Mombasa after the closure of its Likoni branch, the last remaining store at the coast.

In March, the supermarket was also thrown out of the upmarket Nyali City Mall premises in Mombasa after it accumulated Sh27.8 million in rent arrears.

In July, Nakumatt surrendered seven branches and retained a similar number in a new rescue plan that is not dependent on any external capital injection or bank borrowing to succeed.

The seven branches were Nakumatt Galleria, Garden City, Kakamega, Eldoret Household, Ridgeways, Karen Crossroads and Cinemax (Mombasa).

At the peak of its success, Nakumatt was the largest regional supermarket with 64 stores in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda before a rapid financial meltdown under the weight of debts.

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