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Gloves off as retail stores turn Thika Road into battle field

By Domnic Omondi | May 29th 2015

With the opening of Garden City Mall, the busy Thika Superhighway has been turned into a battle field as retail stores jostle for the limited number of middle-class consumers.

Already, a number of retail stores including Kenya’s biggest supermarket, Nakumatt and South Africa’s Game, a subsidiary of Massmart, have opened their branches at the 32-acre mixed-use project. 

But the fight, it appears, has spilled over to include such stores as Naivas, which is not housed in the new mall but has stores along Thika Road.

Yesterday, Nakumatt lined up a series of bargain discounts on special offers dubbed “Super deals on the Superhighway.” This marketing campaign will run for the next two weeks, at the Nakumatt Garden City and Nakumatt Thika Road Mall stores.

“We remain committed to the needs of our customers, whose lifestyles continue to adjust,” said Nakumatt Holdings Managing Director Atul Shah.

He added: “In this branch, we have taken it a notch higher by creating an ambience that allows them to feel comfortable and inspired to walk around to sample the variety of our offerings.”

Massmart, a South-African retail store owned by the world’s largest retail store Wall-Mart, through its subsidiary, Game, also announced the opening of its branch at Garden City. It promised to also bring down the price of some of its major wares.

Naivas Supermarket, through its Thika Road branch, Mountain Mall Thika, has also got mixed up in the battle and in a paid-up advert in local dailies, announced a discount on some of its wares by saying: “Bei zetu hazina game!"

In what appears to be an implicit taunt at the Massmart subsidiary, Game, the advert implied that Naivas’ prices were more competitive.

It should be remembered that Massmart, owned by the world’s largest retail store, Wal-Mart, had last year expressed its intention to acquire a major stake in Naivas but the deal flopped due what is understood to have been family disputes.

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