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Kenya

Choppies sets exit plans into motion, shuts down all its Kisumu branches

Inside a Choppies Supermarket. Choppies has been struggling to grow market share in an increasingly competitive retail market./FILE

KISUMU, Kenya, Nov 27 – Botswana-based Choppies supermarket is shutting down all its five branches in the lakeside city of Kisumu by January next year, a day after Nakumatt Holdings closed its remaining store in the city.

A source at the supermarket, who sought to remain anonymous hinted that the retailer has been struggling of late with management blaming ballooning taxes in the country and revenue losses.

Today, the first branch is shutting down, hosted at Swan Centre building next to the shores of Lake Victoria.

“Swan Centre branch is closing today, we are in the process of transferring stock to the other branches spread across the city,” said the source who works at the supermarket in a senior position.

Choppies supermarket made entry into the Kenyan market in the year 2016 after taking over Ukwala Supermarkets at a cost of Sh1 billion.

The retailer has been struggling to grow market share in an increasingly competitive retail market characterized by the merger of some of its rivals like Quick Mart and Tumaini and the declining fortunes of former big players like Uchumi and Nakumatt.

In Kisumu, the supermarket has three branches within the Central Business District, the fourth one at Kondele along Kisumu Kakamega road and the fifth store at Nyamasaria along Kisumu-Nairobi Highway.

The source says the plan is to close them bit by bit and by January next year there will be no Choppies supermarket in Kisumu.

“We are staring at job loses, the supermarket is leaving. Workers are devastated,” the source said.

Signs of trouble in the supermarket in Kisumu were witnessed as early as June this year with empty shelves and lack of basic commodities like milk, bread, sugar amongst others.

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Already, the supermarket had closed its branches in Bungoma and Kiambu as it embarks on total withdrawal from the Kenyan market.

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