JOHANNESBURG – Africa’s largest grocer Shoprite Holdings says it is in advanced talks with Kenyan authorities to establish its first stores in Kenya and fill the retail space left by the struggling Nakumatt Holdings Ltd.
Shoprite director Gerhard Fritz has confirmed that Shoprite outlets could be opened in Kenya the moment an agreement has been met and when papers have been signed.
“We are currently in talks with some of the property owners but nothing has been signed,” he said.
Fritz said that taking over vacated outlets will give Shoprite Holdings a competitive market advantage, adding that the retail market in Kenya is “too well established” to build new stores.
He further explained that this was the best opportunity for Shoprite Holdings to enter East Africa’s largest economy and strengthen its position outside South Africa.
East Africa’s biggest retailer, Nakumatt, has been forced to shut down more than a dozen of its branches in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda after failure to pay suppliers and a staggering $289 million owed to creditors.
Fritz also said Shoprite was in advanced talks to buy two Nakumatt sites in Uganda as part of expanding its international market base.
Shoprite Holdings had 2,689 stores in 15 countries across the continent at the end of its last fiscal year, according to its annual report.