Naivas takes over space left by financially struggling Tuskys supermarket to open 70th Branch

KENYA – Naivas Supermarket, Kenya’s largest locally owned retail store is continuing with its expansion spree with the chain store seeking to open a new outlet in Kilifi, coastal county of Kenya at a space that was vacated by Tuskys last October.

According to reports by Business Daily, the new outlet will be located at Kilifi Complex Centre situated next to DTB Bank on Bofa Road and targets to open its doors by the end of the month.

The new branch is Naivas’ 70th in the country and will be majorly a food market spread across 25,000 square feet. It will offer jobs to around 107 staffs.

The branch is coming up at a time its closest rival Tuskys has shut several stores due to cash flow challenges.

Other than taking up spaces left by the financially struggling Tuskys, Naivas has also made home to the collapsed Nakumatt’s and exiting Shoprite’s premises in different parts of the country.

“We can expand into different formats locally, either do hypermarkets, or small formats. All we want is to be in every corner of the country.”

Naivas Chief Commercial Officer Willy Kimani

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

Yet Naivas has chosen to dive straight into the deep end of the pool, opening one supermarket branch after another, defying the odds and more like charting the Walmart way of gaining dominance.

In 30 years, the retailer has 70 branches, the most that any Kenyan supermarket chain has ever had. Even in their prime, Nakumatt, Uchumi and Tuskys never got past 65 branches.

In an interview with the Standard News, the supermarket’s managers dismiss the claim that rapid expansion will lead to their near collapse.

“Expansion is not a problem. How you expand is. Stores like Shoprite have close to 3,000 stores in Africa. Here, we have towns that don’t have supermarkets. We will keep growing,” says Naivas Chief Commercial Officer Willy Kimani.

The blossoming retail chain opened ten branches in 2020 and targets ten more 2021.

Confidently bucking a trend in the country’s financially strained retail sector, the retailer is expanding its foot-prints with the blessings of its partners and investors.

Amethis, alongside DEG, MCB Equity Fund and IFC acquired a minority stake into the Naivas Group last year.

According the company, selling the 30 per cent minority stake to the consortium of investors to raise Ksh6 billion (US$58m) was one of the best business decisions they ever took.

Other than the financial backing, Naivas also benefits from years of expertise of managing investments by the investors.

To Kimani, the short and medium-term goal for Naivas is to be a market leader with sights on regional markets. “We can expand into different formats locally, either do hypermarkets, or small formats. All we want is to be in every corner of the country.”

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