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Kenyan retailers race for shoppers

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 31 – The increasing demand for convenient shopping and the improving consumer purchasing power in the country is set to grow the big untapped potential in retail market in the next few years.

Tuskys Supermarket Marketing Manager Willy Kimani told Capital Business on Friday that currently local retail chains have barely scratched the surface but the situation should change as the ‘one-stop-shop’ concept continue to appeal to more people.

“We are only doing 27 percent of the retail market. That means there’s space for 73 percent of the market. Even if a new entrant was to come in with more than 20 or 30 shops, we would still be below the 50 percent mark,” he explained.

The local market is also served by Nakumatt, which focuses more on customers in the high-end segment, Uchumi Supermarkets and other small supermarkets.

Mr Kimani added that with the expansions that the chains were undertaking, they would be able to cover between 40 to 42 percent of the market.

“People’s shopping habits are changing. The customer is changing what he needs, how he needs it and where he needs to shop and that is what we are trying to match,” he added.

Although he admitted that most shops were feeling the effect of an economic downturn as demand particularly for high end products was falling, he added that Tuskys was trying to counter that with offers that would attract more customers to their stores.

Mr Kimani spoke during the opening of the retail chain’s shopping mall in Nairobi’s South C area which seeks to revolutionalise shopping in the residential areas. 

“T-Mall is our 22nd branch (in the country). We are opening a mall in a campaign called “Mambo Freshi”, which is a fresh approach to everything. We will introduce fresh products such as vegetables, milk and bread which we will be baking within the premises,” he added.

The manager however declined to divulge how much they had spent on putting up the four-stored complex which will house everything from furniture, cloths and electronics.

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He disclosed that this concept would be replicated in most residential areas and streets as they try to serve their customers better and give them ultimate shopping experience.

Tuskys is viewed by many as a fairly-priced supermarket and Mr Kimani said they intend to live up to this image even as they continue to venture into upmarket areas.

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