Nakumatt exits Coast as last outlet in the region closes


A deserted Nakumatt outlet in Mombasa late last year. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Struggling Nakumatt Holdings, once the region's largest regional retailer, has exited Mombasa following closure of its Likoni branch, which was its last remaining store in the tourist hub city.

Nakumatt was forced out of the Likoni space in early August following a court order issued in June that gave the retailer 60 days to vacate the premises.

The supermarket chain was kicked out for failing to pay rent to its landlord Nova Holdings Ltd.

Sources told the Business Daily that Nakumatt owes Nova about Sh107 million rent accrued for over 21 months.

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

Naivas takes over

Chain retailer Naivas is now set take over the Likoni space while South African retailer Shoprite has since taken over in City Mall and is set to open its maiden branch in the coastal city before the year ends.

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.

The firm now operates six branches in Kenya, with four of the remaining outlets located within Nairobi, while the other two are in Nakuru and Kisumu.

In July, Nakumatt surrendered seven branches in a new rescue plan that the firm’s administrator — Peter Kahi — said is not dependent on any external capital injection or bank borrowing to succeed.

Remaining stores

Nakumatt said it had already stocked the remaining stores, which its landlords have renegotiated and indicated will not take adverse action, noting that the post-receivership rents for these remaining branches have been cleared.

The High Court in January allowed the appointment of an administrator to run Nakumatt’s affairs, a move that was seen to offer the once giant retailer a lifeline.

It also threw into disarray landlords who were queuing to evict the supermarket from their premises.