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Nakumatt among top regional retailers

NAIROBI, September 15 – Local supermarket chain Nakumatt Holdings has been ranked among the top 30 retail outlets in Africa and Middle East.

A survey released by Planet Retail puts Nakumatt at position 25 in the 2007 overall rankings, which are topped by South African giant Shoprite.

The annual report released by retail research and strategy power house Planet Retail group reveals that Nakumatt Holdings recorded sales of $350 million in 2007.

“The ranking by such an authoritative organisation as Planet Retail confirms Nakumatt’s world-class positioning and benchmark, which has seen us significantly grow our customer footage to more than 10 percent up from 7 percent last year,” said Thiagarajan Ramamurthy, the retailer’s Operations Director.

“The ranking firmly places Kenya high on the global retail market roll of honour thanks to our customers, staff and suppliers.”

Planet Retail is the leading provider of intelligence on the global retail and foodservice industries, monitoring more than 5,000 "banner" operations as well as market developments in 211 countries.

In the report titled: Africa and Middle East Rankings: All set to make the difference, Planet Retail Analyst Manu Ghai explains that the year (2007) saw retailers launch a plethora of new formats, announce ambitious expansion plans and carry out a number of market entries and exits.

In its citation for Nakumatt’s ranking, Planet Retail forecasts that the chain will enhance its ranking this year due to increased sales in new markets such as Rwanda.

“Continentally, we expect the large and well established South African retailers to continue the lead especially in the southern and western part of the continent, but we strongly forecast that Nakumatt will keep the lead and domination in Eastern Africa, including the islands,” Planet Retail’s analyst for Sub-Saharan Africa, Mathew Mue explained.

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The report notes that a majority of retail companies in the AME region are family-owned businesses and are pursuing ambitious expansion plans as they raise capital through IPOs.

“Saudi Arabia-based Al Othaim has achieved IPO ownership and is aiming to plough funds into new stores across the Kingdom,” Ghai notes in the report.

“These retailers are also beginning to offer financial services to lure in consumers. This last strategy extends to the African continent where Kenyan retailer Nakumatt has an ambitious expansion strategy for East Africa and has partnered with financial institutions to offer customers credit cards and cash back facilities.”

To further improve its presence in the region, top ranked South African chain Shoprite has earmarked US$80 million to set up supermarkets in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

With the South African retailers continuing to lead this year’s rankings, the Planet Retail report notes that French hypermarket operators, Carrefour and Casino, have made considerable investments into the Middle East.

Both companies have spread their retail operations across Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other Middle Eastern countries with their respective franchise partners.

Carrefour already operates in North African countries while Casino is currently present with its franchised banners in markets ranging from Morocco to Comoros and Benin.

With Casino operating across such a large number of countries in the region, Carrefour might well look to accelerate through additional market entries.

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