Death of Nakumatt after revival efforts fail

Empty shelves inside Nakumatt’s Kisumu County branch on November 26, 2019. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP Efforts to revive Nakumatt, which was once Kenya’s biggest retail chain, have failed.

The Nation has learnt that the chain has now sold what was left of the six branches to rival Naivas Supermarket in a deal that will see the Nakumatt brand completely disappear by the end of the year.

After it went into financial ICU, the retail chain shut down dozens of its stores to keep afloat. It left six stores open to keep its dreams alive. These were Nakumatt Mega — which was the most profitable branch for years — Nakumatt Prestige, Lavington, Kisumu, Embakasi and Nakuru.

The Nation visited its Nakuru branch over the weekend and found the supermarket clearing its stock to allow Naivas to take over.

The outlet did not look anything close to a supermarket preparing for the shopping craze that comes with Christmas.

Nakumatt staff, who were counting on its revival, said they gave up after they were informed that Naivas would be taking over their space within two weeks.


The six branches were expected to help the retail chain as it went back to the drawing board to rewrite the wrongs, pick up the pieces and bounce back having learnt from its mistakes. But, it appears, this dream did not work too.

“They have simply 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… sad reality,” a source familiar with the retailer’s operations said.

Mr Atul Shah, the face of the family-owned business established in 1987, was counting on the six outlets to restore the firm he grew from scratch into an East African retail giant.

Besides the staff, its suppliers and creditors will be the worst hit by the turn of events. Those who gave the store Sh6 billion in unsecured financing will have a difficult Christmas season given that they may never get back their money. TOP EARNER At its peak, Nakumatt employed about 6,500 staff and paid billions of shillings in taxes.It had 62 branches across the region with 45 in Kenya, nine in Uganda, five in Tanzania and three in Rwanda. Its revenue grew from Sh40 billion in 2013 to a peak of Sh52.2 billion in 2017. Then its financial problems became […]

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