Foreign outlets have also expanded with French giant Carrefour being the most aggressive and doubling its outlets to four.
Tusker Mattresses Supermarket is now the biggest retailer in the country. This is after a biting financial crunch hit Nakumatt, pushing it to the trenches.
Tuskys, as the retailer is fondly known, now has 63 branches across the region after taking up stores vacated by limping retailer Nakumatt.
“We have 63 stores, 56 in Kenya and 7 in Uganda,” said Tuskys CEO Dan Githua. Tuskys would have been even bigger if the deal to acquire Nakumatt had gone through. In the deal, Tuskys would take up controlling stake, 51 per cent for Sh650 million in capital and a pledge to guarantee Sh3 billion in debt.
Naivas, coming in second, has overtaken Nakumatt and now has 43 outlets while Nakumatt comes third with 41 outlets.
- 1 Uchumi begins to vet creditors
- 2 Tuskys shuts 2 branches, fires 200 workers as woes deepen
- 3 Top Tuskys managers quit as firm faces worst cash crunch
- 4 Tuskys in dire need of Sh2 billion
Last year, Nakumatt was the biggest with 64 centres, followed by Tuskys with 58 stores and by Naivas with 39 branches.
This year has also seen entry of Souk Bazaar at NextGen Mall while South African retailer Shoprite has made overtures to enter the Kenyan market.
Foreign retailers have also expanded with French retail giant Carrefour being the most aggressive and doubling its outlets to four. Game, part of South Africa’s Massmart, will increase its outlets to two early next year. The retail sector seems to be picking up with the supermarket bosses noting a boom during the festive season.
“In the first two weeks, Kenyans did a lot of grocery shopping. However, the last one week has turned around to be the best in a long time on luxury, furniture, clothing and home appliances. It seems Kenyans, after a long electioneering period, are now feeling free for luxury spending,” said Githua.
Naivas Chief Operating Officer Willy Kimani said the year was marked by high demand for food after prices shot up, which caused panic buying.
“But now shopping is really picking up on our stores. Fresh is especially doing very well, and I think people have started to trust buying their grocery from supermarkets,” Mr Kimani said.
The year also posed a challenge to the retail sector with their main packaging plastic bags being banned by the Government.
This saw them change tact and withdraw the service, something that has saved them money and has not hurt their bottom line.
“As the supermarkets across the country record booming business throughout this festive season, we urge them to provide sufficient shopping carrier bags without charging for them every time the customer shops. The practice that prevailed prior to plastic ban should continue,” said Stephen Mutoro, Secretary General, Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek).
Uchumi, which has suffered for two years, has seen the light. The retailer’s management said following Uchumi’s restocking plan launched this month, the supermarket chain has recorded an increase of footfall across its 19 out of 20 branches.
“We are well on our way with our ongoing transformation programme and are making changes to bring a fresh outlook to Uchumi which will strengthen our turnaround,” said Andrew Dixon, the Uchumi COO.