Battle of expansion between Kenyan retailers Naivas, Carrefour, eyeing bigger market share

KENYA – IFC backed Kenyan retaier Naivas is set to open its 66th outlet at the Waterfront Mall in Karen replacing South African retailer Shoprite, who cut short its tenancy in April.

The Kenyan retail market defined by heightened competition by both local and international retailers will also see Carrefour opening additional stores in Mombasa before the year ends, as part of its plan of opening six new outlets in 2020.

Joining SA’s Game Stores as anchor clients at the shopping centre, Naivas is set to increase traffic to the Waterfront Mall, and trigger competition for retailers Carrefour and Tuskys which are in close proximity to the mall.

According to reports by Business Daily, the new outlet will be opened in mid-October.

“We are delighted at the prospect of opening our 66th store at the Waterfront Mall as it offers us an exciting opportunity to provide Karen shoppers the Naivas Food market experience at their doorstep.”

Naivas Chief Commercial Officer – Willy Kimani.

“We are pleased to welcome Naivas Supermarket on board as a partner who we believe fits perfectly within our growth and expansion strategy.

“The partnership has been motivated by the need to continually offer shoppers at the mall a wide variety of brands. This confirms our sustained commitment to continue offering Waterfront patrons a lasting experience all under one stable,” said Waterfront Karen Director David Muguku.

Naivas says its new store at the mall will offer 120 direct jobs in line with the retailer’s plans to grow its footprint to include greater employment opportunities.

“We are delighted at the prospect of opening our 66th store at the Waterfront Mall as it offers us an exciting opportunity to provide Karen shoppers the Naivas Food market experience at their doorstep.

“We have not had a presence in the larger Karen area which has been a long-standing request by our shoppers, we are finally able to fulfil this with the new development,” said Naivas Chief Commercial Officer Willy Kimani.

Naivas has been on an expansion trail in recent months, after acquiring equity financing from a consortium of investors including the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

In 2020, Naivas has opened new outlets in Kilimani, Mountain View, Kamakis, Syokimau and Kisumu, defying the effects of coronavirus pandemic that has forced Shoprite to exit the Kenyan market.

The Waterfront Mall space became vacant after Shoprite, which is exiting the Kenyan market, closed its store less than six months after setting shop in the complex.

The closure triggered a court fight with the owners of Waterfront Mall—the late billionaire Nelson Muguku’s family.

The family is seeking Sh520 million (US$4.8m) in lost rent from Shoprite Holdings, after the retail chain cut short its operations at the facility. The Mugukus argued that they still have a 10-year contract with Shoprite, and that the lease agreements did not provide for termination.

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Carrefour to open three new outlets

Meanwhile, Carrefour Kenya, operated by Dubai-based conglomerate, Majid Al Futtaim is set to open three new stores in the nation’s second-largest city, Mombasa.

The store openings will mark the supermarket’s commitment to investing in the Kenyan economy while expanding consumer choice after it obtained a sh.3 billion (US$28.3m) loan facility from South Africa’s Standard Bank Group.

According to Star News, the retailer’s first two stores will officially open their doors and welcome customers in November at City Mall Nyali with the new outlet spanning 2,150 sqm, and Diani Centre Point Plaza with this store spanning 1,800 sqm.

“The opening of the three stores in Mombasa underscores our ambitious growth and expansion plans in Kenya.

“It honours our commitment to offering great customer experiences locally; doing so by bringing a wide assortment of products — at the best value within a modern, state of the art environment — to more Kenyans and communities across the country,” Country Manager of Carrefour Kenya Franck Moreau said.

The third store will be launched as part of the development of Shanzu Mall, which will be completed by 2023.

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