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Nakumatt Mega goes 24 hours

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 9 – Supermarket chain Nakumatt Holdings will on Tuesday begin to offer a 24-hour service to its customers at its hypermarket branch along Uhuru Highway in Nairobi next to Nyayo Stadium.

Nakumatt Mega which is located along the busy highway covers more than 175,000square feet and is the flagship store within the 21 branch strong Nakumatt family.

“The extension of the popular round the clock shopping service is part of Nakumatt’s service enhancement strategy for the festive season and into the New Year,” said Nakumatt Holdings Operations Director Mr Thiagarajan Ramamurthy in a statement.

He said the retail chain is committed at satisfying customer requests.

“Following the success of similar services at our other six branches, we have been inundated with requests from our customers to extend the service here and I am happy to confirm that beginning Tuesday, Nakumatt Mega will effectively become the seventh round the clock branch,” Mr Ramamurthy said.

“The success of Nakumatt Mega has been the cornerstone of our corporate success and we are proud to go the extra mile for our loyal customers benefit.”

Established in 1991, Nakumatt Mega has grown from a 4,000square feet supermarket with less than 30 staff to a 175,000square feet hypermarket stocking more than 55,000 products and featuring more than 300 staffers.

On a daily basis, Nakumatt Mega attracts an average of 5,000 customers and registers more than 3,500 transactions and is now the second round the clock Hypermarket branch in Sub Sahara Africa.

“With the launch of the 24-hour service, we are optimistic of raising our transactions by more than 40 percent while enhancing customer convenience with the largest possible retail selection,” Mr Ramamurthy said.

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And to cope with the expected traffic volume, the supermarket chain, Mr Ramamurthy explained had also moved to beef up security around the complex precincts while raising the staff complement.

The supermarket chain will also be introducing additional round the clock services at the branch with plans for the introduction of further financial service at an advanced stage.

Following the growing success of a round the clock shopping concept introduced by Nakumatt Holdings last year, the supermarket chain has sustained an aggressive expansion strategy confirming the viability of the new concept.

The 24 hour shopping concept introduced in August last year at the Nakumatt Ukay outlet on a pilot basis has turned to be a popular and convenient shopping option and one of Nakumatt’s growth contributors.

The new extended shopping hour’s concept has spawned a dynamic economy beyond the conventional eight hours shopping window which is impacting positively on the local retail economic sector.

On the global retail front, Nakumatt’s efforts are already eliciting attention with the world’s retail research powerhouse Planet Retail, noting Nakumatt’s trailblazing concept. In a recent report, Planet Retail described Nakumatt’s concept as a success.

From a global developments perspective, Nakumatt’s round the clock concepts are inline with global practices particularly in the European market.

In Europe, recent legal and societal developments have provided an impetus for rethinking retail opening hours in many countries. In many of these countries, large supermarket chains are now developing an interest in extending their opening hours to a 24-hour regime.

With a proliferation of ‘unconventional’ lifestyles among modern consumers, night-time supermarkets offer a service that is proving to be highly appreciated.

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Meanwhile the supermarket chain has entered the retail global awards arena finishing second behind global retail giant Wal-Mart in the prestigious Planet Retail Innovation Awards 2008 ranking.

Planet Retail is the leading provider of global retailing information, from news and analysis to market research and digital media and covers more than 7,000 retail and foodservice operations across 140 markets around the world.

In an incredible feat for an African retailer, Nakumatt picked the runners up slot in the Most Innovative New Concepts – Supermarkets/Neighbourhood Store category for its regional expansion strategy showcased by the opening of Nakumatt City Centre in Kigali Rwanda.

In a communiqué confirming Nakumatt’s triumph, Planet Retail’s Global Macroeconomics manager Boris Planner described Nakumatt as a pioneer in modern retailing across East Africa\’s otherwise highly traditional food sector.

“Now in its third year, Planet Retail has scoured the globe for innovations in retailing and foodservice and we are proud to note Nakumatt Holdings market performance in the East Africa region,” Mr Planner said.

“With retailers and restaurant operators facing one of the toughest consumer markets in living memory, this year’s innovations reflect modifications to existing formats rather than totally new concepts which break the mould.”

While accepting the award, Mr Ramamurthy described the award as the best news this year for the local retailer.

“For Nakumatt Holdings, the award by Planet Retail confirms our world class standing and has most importantly served to put the east Africa map firmly on the global retail scene,” Ramamurthy said.

In its citation for the award, Planet Retail explained that despite economic uncertainty, retailers have not lost their sense of humour with plenty of fun in promotional campaigns playing to consumers’ heightened awareness of pricing and the impact of their actions on the environment.

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The research firm noted that as with every economic situation, not everything is doom and gloom.

“Whilst consumers may be cutting back on big ticket discretionary spending, they are still willing to treat themselves and this is a theme which many operators have capitalised on,” Mr Planner explained.

The award citation further noted that the emerging markets of China and India are providing good opportunities for innovation with burgeoning retail and restaurant sector creating new opportunities for growth.

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