KENYA – Shoprite Holdings, Africa’s biggest retailer headquartered in South Africa, secured US$5.49 million (about Sh566 million in current terms) in funding to expand its footprint in Kenya.

The facility, which the retailer acquired from Stanbic Bank Kenya, was disclosed in the South African firm’s latest investor update for the financial year ended June 2019.

According to the update, the credit facility was part of its US$764 million debt it closed the financial year with, having opened 126 additional stores in the region including in Kenya, and creating 3,175 new jobs.

The company says the financial year ending June 2020 will see the completion of a number of strategic projects that have been on its radar for many years

“We are critically assessing capital spend in the pursuit of growth that is cash generative, return accretive and strategically beneficial,” the firm said in the update.

The retailer said that it will focus on “growth opportunities in our home market, inclusive of our established African operations, rather than pursuing businesses in foreign geographies.

The supermarket is set to open two new stores in Kenya, general manager for Shoprite Kenya Andrew Mweemba told the Business Daily.

“There are two new stores coming — one opening in Nyali mall next week and another in Waterfront Karen next month,” said Mr Mweemba.

So far, the retail chain has two operating stores, it opened its first store at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi in December 2018. It is leveraging on Kenya to establish itself in East Africa which has a weak presence unlike its counterparts in Central, Southern, and West Africa.

Despite struggling to lift sales in majority of the economies that Shoprite operates outside South Africa, its chief executive officer Pieter Engelbrecht said that the company will continue to pursue growth opportunities in the continent.

“We remain confident in the opportunity our entrenched position as Africa’s leading food retailer will bring as the economic fortunes of the countries where we trade improve.

“I am pleased to be able to say that we have the right people, resources and plans in place to entrench and grow our leading food retail position, both in South Africa and on the rest of the African continent and, therefore, to grow our profitability over the long term,” Engelbrecht said.