KENYA – French retail giant Carrefour has booked space at The Hub, an upcoming shopping mall located in Nairobi’s leafy Karen suburb, in what is set to be its second outlet in Kenya.

Carrefour —ranked the world’s second largest supermarket chain after Wal-Mart Stores — has booked 6,000 square feet of retail space at The Hub that is expected to open at the end of September next year.

The hypermarket chain had already announced plans to open a 100,000-square feet store at Two Rivers, a shopping complex owned by the Nairobi bourse-listed investment firm Centum, by October next year.

The two retail stores in Kenya will be operated by Dubai-based Majid Al Futtaim Retail, the exclusive franchise holders for Carrefour.

The Middle East firm is part of the Majid Al Futtaim Group, the family-owned business that acquired troubled motor dealer CMC Holdings in a Sh7.5 billion cash offer earlier this year.

“The Hub Karen Lifestyle Mall scheduled to be open in the third quarter of 2015, announces their anchor tenant as the retail giant Carrefour Hypermarket,” the mall’s developer said Thursday in a statement.

“Carrefour Hypermarkets offer customers a unique experience with an adaptive product selection that caters to all with products of the highest quality at competitive and affordable pricing that corresponds to local consumer requirements ‘all under one roof’,” The Hub Karen said.

The Paris-based supermarket chain is set to become the second global supermarket chain in Kenya’s retail industry after South Africa’s Massmart which plans to open its Game store in December at the upcoming Garden City Mall along the Thika Superhighway.

Carrefour’s announcement comes five months after Massmart dropped its quest to acquire a majority stake in Naivas Supermarkets — ranked Kenya’s third largest retailer — opting to set up from scratch.

Kenya’s formal retail market is dominated by privately-held and family-owned businesses such as Nakumatt, Tuskys and Naivas with only one listed supermarket chain Uchumi.

Carrefour has a total of 10,105 stores in 34 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, Russia and Africa.

Its total sales grossed Sh9.7 trillion (€84.3 billion) and posted an operating income of Sh252 billion (€2.19 billion) in the year ended December 2013.

Carrefour is seeking to tap into Kenya’s growing “malling” culture fuelled by Kenya’s growing middle class which has increased disposable incomes to splurge on shopping.

Kenya’s low retail penetration rate – estimated at about 30 per cent – has whetted the appetite of multinational stores who are seeking to set up base in Nairobi and serve the largely untapped market characterised by neighbourbood shops and kiosks.

The Carrefour outlet at Karen makes up a fifth of the 30,000 square-feet shopping complex expected to be complete in the third quarter of next year.

The Hub Karen – a Sh4 billion shopping mall located in Nairobi’s affluent district of Karen — will be one of Kenya’s largest shopping malls.

A consortium of investors named Azalea Holdings are behind The Hub Karen, which sits on a on a 20-acre piece of land near the Karen shopping centre.

The Carrefour hypermarket set for Two Rivers measures 100,000 square feet or 16.1 per cent of the 620,000 square-feet shopping complex expected to be complete by October next year.

The French retailer beat Nakumatt to be the anchor tenant at Two Rivers, with an offering to take up a larger space compared to the regional supermarket chain.

September 20, 2014;

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