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Uchumi supermarkets upbeat in 2011

NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 11 – Local supermarket chain Uchumi is optimistic of growth in its 2010/2011 financial year buoyed by an increase in sales volumes.

Speaking to Capital Business, Uchumi Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Ciano said sales during the first half of the year had grown by 27 percent, an indication of a rise in profits for the company.

"Our focus is to continue hitting our targets as we move on. We are actually even beyond the target and we are working on the positive side of things," Mr Ciano said.

Uchumi posted a 106 percent net profit in its 2009/2010 at Sh865 million, with Mr Ciano indicating that the company could surpass the figure.

"My hands right now are tied by the Capital Markets Authority rules on how much I can divulge but things are looking up for us," he said.

Uchumi has been on the path to recovery since it emerged from receivership following years of financial woes that led to loss making and bankruptcy.

The Uchumi CEO said expansion for the company would remain conservative with the focus being reaching non-shoppers especially in rural areas.

"There is still a large underserved market out there and that is where we will be concentrating our efforts," he said.

Uchumi is also looking to re-list at the Nairobi Stock Exchange with the CEO saying he expects a speedy review of the company\’s case by the Capital Markets Authority.

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"We sent everything to them in December but they have not come back to us but we expect that soon that they\’ll come and tell us to move this way or that way," he said.

Uchumi was suspended from the bourse in 2006.

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