- Shoprite CEO Pieter Engelbrecht on Tuesday outlined a plan to open seven new stores in Nairobi in the coming months.
- The first store will be at the Westgate Shopping Mall and the retailer has commenced a fit-out for the 4,624m² (49,770 ft²) flagship store which will carry the latest Checkers specification to suit. The store is expected to open by August 1, 2018.
- Knight Frank Kenya was the leasing agent responsible for the South Africa-based retail chain’s maiden entry into the Kenyan market.
- Another location is expected at Garden City Mall, Nairobi before the end of 2018.
- Shoprite is taking advantage of the declining financial performance of Kenya’s biggest retail chains, which have been grappling with financial difficulties related to leases and G&A costs.
- Shoprite plans to open 92 new stores across the continent within the next 18 months.
Shoprite’s expansion into Kenya is a well-timed opportunistic play on the dwindling financial fortunes of household names such as Nakumatt, Ukwala and Uchumi. Shoprite, which already operates in Tanzania, Uganda and Nigeria was unable to penetrate the Kenyan market three years ago due to fierce retailer competition. Nakumatt, Westgate’s former anchor tenant, recently announced a planned merger with arch-rival and Kenya’s largest retailer, Tuskys. The company has been faced with financial woes leading to store closures in both Uganda and Kenya with supplies holding stock over unpaid debts.
Speaking on their involvement with Shoprite’s entry, Ben Woodhams, Managing Director at Knight Frank Kenya, said: “With Shoprite, we are extremely excited to introduce another strong international anchor tenant into our market and feel that its high-end fit-out will suit Westgate’s profile very well.”
The move also provides Shoprite with an exposure into one of the continent’s fastest-growing economies which recorded 4.7% growth in 2017 and is forecasted to record 6% growth in 2018. As of December 2017, the SA Retailer operated 1,276 stores in 15 African countries under the Shoprite, Checkers, Checkers Hyper and USAVE brands.