KENYA – Naivas and Carrefour supermarkets are front-runners to take over space vacated by the troubled Nakumatt Holdings at the Thika Road Mall (TRM).

Nakumatt, in a notice posted at the TRM entrance on Monday, said it had closed what has been one of its flagship stores to allow for stock-taking.

TRM chief operating officer, Bashir Dalvi, however said they are in talks with Nakumatt to have them exit the space due to mounting rent arrears.

The Naivas Supermarket chief operating officer, Willy Kimani said in an interview the retailer has “very high interests” of occupying the space if rendered available.

“Interests are there to occupy TRM and if the space is rendered available we shall go through our acquisition processes,” said Mr Kimani in a telephone interview.

“We are actually the most sought-after retailer now and we are doing quite well especially with our new brand – food market – which can do well in such a space.”

Mr Kimani said they are yet to start talks with TRM but they are set to do so once the green light is given.

Mr Dalvi said all major retailers are fighting for the space but they cannot confirm when it would be available until Nakumatt exits.

“Just like in any negotiations we cannot give a timeframe when Nakumatt would exit, it could be months, it could be weeks,” said Mr Dalvi.

“We wish to get done with this as soon as possible so that we can all go back to our normal lives.”

A source privy to the matter said there have been high interests from other partners to occupy the TRM space, with French retail giant Carrefour also among the front runners.

Efforts to reach Carrefour for comments were unsuccessful.

Nakumatt TRM— the retailer’s 39th store in East Africa at the time of opening — began operations in 2013 at the first mega shopping complex along the Thika superhighway occupying a floor space of 80,000 square feet.

September 19, 17: Daily Nation