Quickmart CEO Peter Kang’iri (left) assists Vanessa Amolo, a customer at the supermarket’s Kilimani branch during the marking of the retailer’s 15 years anniversary in Nairobi. We are wearing black because we’re burying all these other supermarkets,” chuckled a comedian last week as Quickmart marked its 15-year anniversary.
Whether the hubris-laced attempt at dark humour will age well, only time will tell.
For Kenya’s supermarket business, it appears there are no fairy tale endings with at least seven retailers failing in less than five years.
Amid this debris, Naivas and Quickmart have stood firm and seem like they are on steroids. Each has expanded by more than 10 branches in the last three years after being acquired partly by private equity (PE) funds. READ MORE
They are both now at 75 and 45 outlets respectively – the largest local retailers by floor space. The rather secretive Quickmart has made it known that it aims to soon overtake Naivas.
The two retailers are anchored on the same business model – from origin to growth – and it will be interesting to see who will come out top.
They both share humble beginnings in Nakuru and have largely keep away from malls and were acquired by PEs at almost the same time.
They are also relying on a new retail concept of food markets to pursue growth, and have no regional expansion plans at the moment.
Kenya’s retail turbulence brought a lot of rethinking in the business and the entry of foreign expertise might explain the new rage of food markets and fresh agricultural produce.
Naivas claims to be the local pioneer of the food market concept in 2016 having been “re-engineering the in-store experience” over the years.
It has now started converting some of its old outlets into food markets with a large focus on fresh agricultural produce.“This move was driven by our need to constantly meet and exceed customers’ needs as the business is alive to the fact that the environment it operates in is changing and the consumer is evolving,” said Naivas chief commercial officer Willy Kimani as the retailer refurbished its Prestige outlet into a “next level” food market.Quickmart says it has allocated 30 per cent of store space for fresh food and bakery, which have anchored its sales.“The margins within that category are very attractive, hence the drive to see a lot of stores coming up with food markets,” said Quickmart marketing director Betty Wamaitha.The […]