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Deacons boss Muchiri Wahome/FILE

Kenya

Deacons plans listing on the NSE this year

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 18 – Fashion and lifestyle retail group Deacons Kenya is hoping to list on the Nairobi Securities Exchange later this year.

Deacons Kenya Chief Executive Officer Muchiri Wahome said although the company is yet to submit an application to the Capital Markets Authority, the board is deliberating the matter.

“Plans are underway subject to regulatory approvals. The board of directors is considering the listing of Deacons’ shares on the Nairobi Securities Exchange, but in any event not later than the third quarter of this year,” he said.

Wahome expressed confidence in the listing, notwithstanding the poor performance of the stock market whose 20-share index dropped 31 percent in 2011.

The company held an unlisted public share offer in November 2010, selling its shares at Sh62.50 each and as a result was able to raise Sh701 million against a target of Sh800 million.

Despite external shocks that rhit the economy last year Wahome said the company managed to grow revenues by 40 percent in 2011, and plans to maintain momentum by engaging customers this year with new strategies including a loyalty program.

“It’s about bringing back offers that give a good price for our customer and ensuring that we have a merchandise profile that meets the customer demands,” he said.

Deacons is also looking to open three new stores in Kampala this year, in efforts to build its regional footprint.

“Ugandans love to spend and look good and live a good life and that endears us to them,” Wahome said.

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However, penetrating Tanzania has been a challenge for the company due to what Wahome explained as poor capitalisation and consumerisation compared to the rest of the East African region.

The retailer opened two stores in Kigali, in December 2011, which Wahome said have received positive feedback especially for introducing formal retail in the country.

Domestically, Deacons recorded a 74 percent growth turnover above budget from the Woolworths Mombasa store which was opened in December last year as well.

Deacons is eyeing prospective markets in Kisumu, Nakuru and Meru and is currently carrying out surveys and market research to identify products that will cater to consumers in those areas.

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