Karatina, Nyeri, Dec 16 – Uchumi Supermarket Karatina Branch has been closed indefinitely due to rent arrears.
The eviction of the retailer from the branch is a result of a court order that was issued by a Karatina court after the landlord sued Uchumi for unpaid rent running into months.
The court found that Uchumi’s continued occupation of the premises is unlawful adding that occupying the premises owned by a prominent businesswoman, “constitutes intrusion and illegal trespass.”
Auctioneers raided the branch and impounded goods worth hundreds of thousands including consumables, clothes and furniture.
Uchumi, however, says the unexpected closure is due to non-renewal of the lease from the landlord.
“As we seek an alternative solution, we apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused. We enjoyed many years in Karatina and appreciate the customers’ loyalty and support,” said Uchumi in a statement.
The retailer has embarked on a restocking plan that will see 21 branches across the country reopened on Sunday.
The restocking was made possible after the government released Sh700 million out of a Sh1.2 billion bailout loan they had been promised by the state to revive Uchumi’s Kenya operations.
Acting Chief Executive Ahmed Mohammed says this is the beginning of a new chapter for the retailer as it seeks to get back to profitability.
The government had committed to pump Sh1.8 billion in Uchumi of which Sh1.2 billion was for Kenya operations while Sh600 million was for other operations in Uganda and Tanzania.
Another Sh3.5 billion is set to be brought in by a strategic investor by January 2018.