KENYA – Carrefour, one of the largest hypermarket chains in the world, has opened its fourth outlet at Junction Mall in Nairobi, Kenya amidst struggling local retail sector in Kenya that has prompted closure of some outlets belonging to giant retailers.

Carrefour has taken up the space that was vacated by Nakumatt Holdings allegedly due to debt woes.

The local franchise held by Majid Al Futtaim will first utilize a partial selling area of 1300 square metres selling selected product range before completion of refurbishment 4700square metres space that will see the retailer fully operational.

“When fully operational later in the year, the Junction Mall store will stock over 30,000 food and non-food items, and host some of our specialist sections such as, fresh produce, groceries, a fresh bakery, and a butchery,” said Mr Moreau Al Futtaim Retail (Kenya) country manager.

It’s among the foreign outlets operating in Kenya and focusing on expansion plan, including Manix Clothes Stores, Botswana’s Choppies and South Africa’s Game.

The closure and exit of some retail outlets such as Nakumatt and Uchumi is clearly giving way to establishment of foreign retailers in the country who are targeting customers in the residential areas.

“This is yet another significant milestone since we started operations in Kenya in 2016.

We are pleased and honoured to be bringing our services closer to our customers, by adopting the successful “partial selling area” model we first adopted last year, as we progressively prepare to have fully fledged operations in the popular mall,’ added Mr Moreau.

As the retail chain unveils expansion plans, there is expected increased activity in the sector with entrance of new players such as Commonwealth’s Rams Supermarket.

The French multinational retailer has stolen the international show over its competitors, setting up its first pick-up point on a technology campus in Belgium that enabled customers to shop online and then have their shopping delivered to their workplace.

The question remains whether Carrefour is ready to use its strong international expertise to remain afloat amidst challenges in the retail.

The expansion of stores and entrance of foreign outlets could indicate a positive outlook in Kenya’s retail sector if only the stakeholders would address issues on corporate governance and ambitious expansion projections to avoid challenges faced by the struggling retailers.