KENYA – Naivas Supermarket has announced plans to open a branch in Bungoma, stepping up competition for shoppers in western Kenya following rival Nakumatt’s acquisition of the town’s main retailer Yakos.

Naivas also plans to open an outlet in Ukunda, again putting it in a direct competition with Nakumatt. 

Naivas, which is a family owned retail chain, intends to open the two outlets this month.

“Both outlets will employ 200 employees,” Naivas managing director David Kimani said in an interview. The expansion, to be funded through internal cash reserves, will help the retailer increase its footprint to 40 branches from the current 38 in Kenya.

The Ukunda Naivas branch was initially booked for Uchumi which wanted to open in the area but later disagreed with the property owner over how it was going to finance the facility.

Uchumi has also given up its opportunity to open at KU-Unicity mall along Thika Road to Naivas Supermarkets, which is said to be in talks with leasing agents Tysons Ltd.

 “We have already identified new areas where we intend to open additional four branches early next year focusing more on the local market,” said Mr Kimani.

The Competition Authority of Kenya has given Nakumatt approval to acquire three stores in western Kenya belonging to Yakos Supermarket Ltd. The three stores are in Kakamega, Bungoma and Busia.

Yakos is owned by businessman Sudhir Khetia who has interests in property development and retail.

Nakumatt has been on expansion drive both locally and in the neighbouring countries. It recently acquired three outlets previously owned by South African retail giant Shoprite in Dar es Salaam and Arusha Tanzania.

Naivas Supermarkets has, however, not ventured outside the country.

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