Kenyan retailer Quickmart beats the odds of economic hardship opens 32nd store

KENYA – Quickmart Supermarkets, Kenyan retailer and majority owned by Mauritius-based private equity firm Adenia Partners has opened its 32nd store as it eyes to ramp up its customer base.

The retailer seeking to strengthen its hold on the growing middle class and working-class market has opened the new outlet at the suburbs of Kilimani in Nairobi.

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“We are positioning this store as our flagship store in the Kilimani, Ngong Road, Lavington and hurlighum area,” the retail chain’s marketing director Betty Wamaitha said.

According to a report by Business Daily, the store will feature a fully-fledged deli, bakery, butchery, liquor store and a fruits and vegetables section.

In addition, Quickmart said it will be seeking to give more value to its customers by providing selected goods on wholesale prices with the hope of rolling out the strategy to all its other stores with time.

“Given the economic challenges brought about by Covid-19, we have responded to our shoppers’ needs by providing selected goods such as bales of sugar, flour and others under essential providers at wholesale price,” Ms Wamaitha said.

The wholesale offer on some commodities comes at a time when consumers are grappling with depressed incomes in the wake of salary cuts, unpaid leaves and job losses occasioned by the global coronavirus pandemic.

The retailer appears to be bucking the trend in a country where its competitors are facing economic shocks arising from coronavirus and are struggling to remain operational on the back of heavy debts and reduction in consumer spending in the wake of the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic.

Recently it opened its first outlet in the heart of Nairobi’s central business district (CBD), taking up the space previously occupied by Botswana-based Choppies supermarket, which plans to exit the Kenyan market following a cash flow hitch.

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The Kenyan retailer market has been characterised as highly competitive with local retailers such as Quickmart, Tuskys and Naivas facing increased competition from international retailers like Carrefour and Shoprite who are all seeking to tap into the market.

Coupled with financial constraints it has led to some of the retailers exiting the market like Nakumatt while others still struggling to survive like Uchumi and recently Tuskys.

Tuskys is currently under probe over default of suppliers pay to the tune of sh.1.29 billion (US$12.1m) with the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) launching an investigation over the retailer’s bank accounts.

CAK now wants Tuskys to focus on settling its current obligations and prioritise the interests of suppliers ahead of other parties such as shareholders and employees.

In regards to this the retailer will now need approval from the Competition Authority before it can pay bonuses to directors, open more branches or start new lines of business.

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