Naivas, Cleanshelf open new branches in Nakuru, take over spaces of struggling Tuskys, Ukwala

KENYA – IFC backed Kenyan retailer Naivas Supermarket has opened its fourth store in Nakuru town, as local chain Cleanshelf opens its inaugural store in the same region, central of Kenya.

The new stores steam up competition in the town which hosts other retailers such as WoolMart and QuickMart who have two branches each, while homegrown Gilanis has maintained its only branch.

According to reports by Business Daily, Naivas’ and Cleanshelf’s new branch have occupied spaces vacated by Tuskys and Choppies owned Ukwala respectively.

Troubled Tuskys supermarket exited Nakuru town, its birth place with the closure of the last branch in January.

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The closure was the proverbial last nail in the retailer’s coffin, perhaps signifying the end of an era for the supermarket chain that began its story in the dusty township of Rongai in 1985.

The shutdown had followed closure of branches by the supermarket chain all over the country, as the family-owned retailer is sitting on pins and needles due to debt running into billions.

Naivas, just like Nakumatt and Tuskys, traces its roots to Nakuru.

The opening of the new branches is good news to suppliers in the town, who had lost out on business following the closure of the two businesses. While some of the employees who had lost their jobs have also expressed hope that they will be offered new opportunities in the new branches.

Other than Tuskys’ spaces, Naivas also took over the premises vacated by yet another collapsed retailer- Nakumatt- at the Nakuru West Side mall in 2019.

Nakumatt, just like Naivas and Tuskys, traced its roots to Nakuru. It launched its operations trading initially as Nakuru Mattresses before its expansion to other towns and the regional countries.

Clean shelf on the other hand began its story in 2002 in Limuru Town, prior to expanding into other regions now boasting of over 12 outlets in the country.

Following the collapse and exit of retailers like Nakumatt, Choppies and Shoprite, and downsizing of Tuskys and Uchumi supermarkets, has created a void in the retail scene which players like Naivas, Quickmart and Carrefour are trying to fill across the country.

Some have argued that Kenya’s seemingly thriving retail sector has finally shown its true colours as a treacherous road to success.

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With the sector is currently dominated by Quickmart and Naivas, which are both backed by private equity investors and foreign owned Carrefour. This clearly shows, the industry requires both financial and management muscle.

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