Market News

Severe January blues hit city businesses on schools reopening

James Maina
Trader James Maina at his stall on Ring Road Ngara. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU 

Businesses in Nairobi are facing a steep decline in sales on top of poor business in December as families grapple with tough January economic condition.

A spot check at various business premises within the capital city shows diminished footprint unlike December and early January when they experienced better sales.

Eric Gitonga, a bookshop entrepreneur on Moi Avenue in Nairobi, says stationery sales have already declined by nearly two-thirds unlike in a similar month last year.

He attributes this to substantially reduced purchasing power. Mr Gitonga, however, adds that few days ago, his shop was busier.

He added if things do not improve he would find it difficult to sustain his business as he still has bills to pay.


The situation is also reflected in the transport sector as public service vehicles plying various routes in the country as they face sharply reduced number of travellers.

Alex Githaiga, a 2NK matatu driver says the vans have been forced to slash fares by up to 50 percent to entice travellers.

“For example, last December, this place was packed with passengers and even some of them were fighting to board public service vehicles. It now takes more than three hours to fill one matatu,” he said.

He added that the situation is not only affecting them but also traders who sell meals, apparel, among others, who have been hit as hard.

“We foresee these businesses closing down in months to come if things do not improve.

“That will render many individuals jobless,” he said.