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QuickMart takes aim at rivals with city centre store

QuickMart
QuickMart head of marketing Betty Wamaitha (centre). FILE PHOTO | NMG 

QuickMart Supermarket has upped the battle for shoppers in Nairobi’s central business district (CBD) after the retail chain opened its first outlet in the city centre.

Botswana-based Choppies supermarket, which plans to exit Kenya following a cash flow hitch, previously occupied the premises on Tom Mboya Street.

When setting shop in CBD, QuickMart is taking advantage of the disarray in Kenya’s retail sector that had resulted in the collapse of established supermarkets that controlled a larger share of the city centre consumers.

Two of Kenya’s three top retailers that were in trouble include Uchumi Supermarkets #ticker:UCHM, which closed most of its stores and former regional leader Nakumatt — which collapsed, opening the door to rivals. Tuskys has also closed some downtown branches.

“This store allows us to be part of the action in the heart of Nairobi being our first store in the CBD,” said Betty Wamaitha, QuickMart head of marketing.

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Rival chain Naivas has recently firmed its grip on city-centre shoppers with new branches in a country where just 30 percent of retail transactions take place in the formal market.

Competition in Kenya’s retail sector is heating up, with South Africa’s Shoprite and Game Stores as well as Carrefour, among other retailers opening outlets in Kenya in recent years.

But the foreign-based retailers have shied from setting shop in Nairobi’s CBD opting instead to open stores in malls and outlets vacated by the two struggling retailers Nakumatt and Uchumi.

Nakumatt creditors voted in January to wind it up after it was unable to pay debts following a failed rescue attempt.

At its peak, Nakumatt had five outlets in Nairobi’s CBD.

QuickMart, which merged with Tumaini Supermarket last year making it Kenya’s third-largest retailer, is looking to open two more branches that will bring to five outlets they have opened this year. It has 29 branches across the country.

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