Kenya – Tusker Mattresses, one of the major Kenyan retailer, has invested US$0.29million (kshs 30 million) in setting up a virtual mall- Tuskys Online Store and a suppliers’ portal.

The group’s chief executive Dan Githua said the cloud-based platform will enable customers shop for furniture, electronics, crockery, clothes, mobile accessories and home appliances among others in its 54 stores in Kenya and seven in Uganda.

“Alongside the existing army of more than 1,200 suppliers to Tuskys physical stores, the online portal will undertake a recruitment rally for an additional 1,000 online suppliers where we shall target enterprising youth currently engaging in online sales ventures on social media platforms,” he said in a statement.

The online store, accessible from the group’s website, will also give suppliers real time supplier accounts that will facilitate quick payments for deliveries.

Mr Githua said that the Tuskys Online store provides a payment option and same day delivery services within the countries capital, Nairobi, with upcountry orders set for execution overnight.

According to the CEO, the virtual mall also allows customers to pay installments for select products via Tuskys Lipia Pole Pole Layby option, introduced in September 2017 that has raked in Sh500 million in sales.

With the portal, customers are also able to choose their shopping location across Kenya and Uganda with direct home deliveries planned for customers at zero charges within Nairobi.

Githua says that the success of the e-commerce hub could see the retailer slowdown on its branch expansion highlighting online trade as the next frontier for Kenya’s retail sector.

“More business will be coming from technology rather than from opening physical stores, but, you will see Tuskys open more stores.

We are however planning to take the sale of durable consumer commodities such as furniture and electronics fully online, the sale of groceries does however remain largely in physical stores,” he said.

Tuskys affirms joining NSE listing

The retailer has given its clearest indicator yet of listing at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) bourse as a potential initial public offering for the firm’s shares in mid-2019.

“We will definitely join the main market segment.

We entered an incubation period with the NSE as the first step towards an actual listing and I expect Tuskys to be in the NSE by the third quarter of 2019,” said Mr Githua.

NSE’s incubation and acceleration platform, composed of financial advisers and consultants is geared at guiding firms to possible listings in the future for a period stretching 10 months.

NSE Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Odundo affirmed Tuskys’ incorporation at the bourse in the near term saying the firm is working very closely with the securities exchange.

Tusker Mattresses is currently embarking on a growth and expansion strategy to consolidate on its position as a leading retailer player in Kenya and the East African region to include new shopping outlets for its Tuskys and Mavazi clothing brands.