Nakumatt recently closed its Prestige branch, leaving the once supermarket giant with only three outlets. Moreover, the retailer is also en route to closing the remaining branches. An employee told Soko Directory that Nakumatt Highridge might close as soon as December 31, 2019. The retailer recently closed its Kisumu branch, sending home 35 employees.
Naivas is reportedly working on a deal to take up the remaining Nakumatt outlets by the end of the year.
“They have made a strategic exit with Naivas picking the branches at a consideration. A bank has also put up its Mombasa Road head office for sale. Basically, it is a done deal… a sad reality,” a source familiar told Daily Nation.
Nakumatt’s slow exit out of the market comes at the expense of many. Once, the supermarket giant employed as many as 6,500 people, paying billions in taxes. Additionally, the supermarket’s demise comes at the expense of suppliers and creditors, who might lose up to KSh 6 billion with its downfall. Besides, the retailer still has a backlog of rent payments to its landlords to the tune of KSh 40 billion shillings.
As Nakumatt bows out, retailers like Tuskys and Naivas seem to step up to fill its chasm. Naivas has as many as 58 branches in the country, while Nakumatt, in its glory days, had 45 branches in Kenya.
Moreover, other small retailers in Kenya also grew to split Nakumatt’s market share. For instance, plyers like Tumaini and Quickmart, who have since merged, have shown growth, evident by new branches. At the same time, international players like The Game, Carrefour, and Shoprite are expanding into Kenya.
However, other retailers like Choppies Supermarket have faced challenges with suppliers and have exited from the market altogether.