KENYA – Kisumu town has seen an unprecedented growth of supermarkets dealing in fast moving goods over the past year.

The outlets are targeting the informal settlements unlike in the past when they were concentrated in the central business district.

The town, which had a reputation for being hostile to investments, has changed owing to the resurgence of these large retail chain stores.

Big names such as Nakumatt, which has dominated the market for a long time, now face stiff competition from new entrants.

Establishment of a number of shopping malls and expanding road networks have also spurred the rapid growth of retail stores, raising the town’s profile as an attractive investment hub.

Uchumi opened an outlet at the new West End mall and is banking on a strategy of lower prices in the leafy suburbs of the town.

Regional manager Elizabeth Kanja said the outlet has shown signs of positive growth in its first three months of operations.

Ms Kanja said the investment is driven by the adequate supply of fresh produce such as pineapples and sweet potatoes.

“As our trucks deliver goods to our branch in Kisumu, we are able to transport this produce back to Nairobi, providing farmers the market they need to excel,” she said.

Ms Kanja said Uchumi expects to expand into other commercially viable centres beyond Kisumu such as Kakamega, among others.

“Fair prices, a national pricing strategy and the specialty business model taking up fresh produce from small and medium-sized businesses is our strength in the region.”

Naivas is yet to open a branch in the town to compete with the likes of Tuskys, which is popular among middle-class shoppers. The outlet is banking on the huge foot traffic on the Kisumu-Kakamega road to boost its business.

Tumaini supermarket opened a branch in CBD following rapid growth of its Kondele outlet.

Tumaini chairman Elijah Okello said high quality goods and services at reasonable prices are key in attracting customers.

“We commit only to provide the people of Kisumu the best at all times. The county is a land of opportunities. We, therefore, intend to have another branch coming up in a few months to give us an opportunity to serve even better,” he said.

October 21, 2014;