KENYA – Struggling Nakumatt Supermarket has announced the closure of its Westgate branch, as the retailer’s troubles persist.

In a public notice, Nakumatt announced on Saturday that the branch will be closed from Sunday, October 8 “until further notice”.

The closure comes barely a week after Junction Mall directors closed a branch at the premises.

However, Nakumatt, which accused the mall’s owners and managers of using underhand tactics in closing the branch, got a reprieve after getting a court order blocking the shutdown pending a hearing on October 16.

The family-owned business is fighting to cut back on massive debts owed to suppliers estimated at Sh15 billion as at February 2015, a situation that has been pilling pressure on its operations.

Last month, the retailer shut down its Thika Road Mall (TRM) branch, barely a month after closing its outlet at the NextGen Mall on Mombasa Road after just nine months of operations.

Westgate is the fourth key branch to be closed in less than two months.

The branch, which opened in 2009, had been shut in 2013, after Westgate Mall was destroyed during a terrorist attack by Somalia’s Al-Shabaab militia in September of that year, in which at least 67 people died and billions of shillings lost by businesses. It resumed operations in 2015.

Nakumatt has closed several other branches in recent months, some on grounds of poor performance.

These include Haile Selassie branch located at the Kenyatta University Plaza and Ronald Ngala branch.

It also also closed a branch in Uganda that had accumulated rent arrears estimated at about Sh8.5 million.

Nakumatt and Tuskys recently announced confidential merger talks, but a formal agreement was yet to be reached.

Business Daily