NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 10 – Local retail chain Nakumatt Holdings is on course to conclude a major restructuring to establish special alcohol and related substances sales points in all its local branches.
Ahead of the March deadline to ensure compliance with the new regulations, Nakumatt Holdings has clearly demarcated and tastefully fenced off alcohol sales points at all its 29 branches countrywide.
The project valued at more than Sh50 million is part of the firm\’s compliance with the recently introduced Alcohol Drinks Control Act and has seen the development of Shop in Shop alcohol sales points within Nakumatt Branches that are inaccessible to persons under the age of 18 years.
Speaking when he confirmed the project, Nakumatt Holdings Managing Director Atul Shah also explained that the firm had updated its Information Technology systems leading to an automatic barring of alcohol sales beyond the prescribed hours as per the new regulations.
As a leading player in Kenya\’s retail sector, Mr Shah explained that Nakumatt Holdings had in recent years been actively ensuring self-regulation on all matters relating to alcohol and related substances sale.
He however expressed regret that the new regulations had failed to appreciate the role played by large retailers who had been lumped together with small size supermarkets.
"With the passing of the new regulations and the subsequent gazettment by the Internal Security Minister, Nakumatt Holdings is pleased to confirm that we have moved to comply with the regulations to the latter by establishing special sales points for alcohol products," Mr Shah explained.
And added: "besides the sales points, we have also updated the software on all tills to bar any sales of products listed within the alcohol products category outside the legally mandated hours."
On the lack of supermarkets classification, Shah pointed out that the current blanket lumping of all supermarkets in one band is not realistic. A specific stakeholder involved classification of all supermarkets; he said should be considered by the relevant authorities.
Nakumatt Holdings, he disclosed had also moved to petition Internal Security Minister George Saitoti to facilitate an undertaking by the provincial administration and related law agencies to enforce the law particularly in public areas such as mall parking lots.
"It is instructive to note that Nakumatt Hypermarkets and supermarkets are located in malls where we operate as tenants as we do not own any property. Consumption of alcohol in such parking lots we accept should remain prohibited and the provincial administration should play its part in enforcing the law as we have no legal mandate to do the same," he said.