Kenya’s Nakumatt could compete with the likes of Shoprite in rest of Africa

East African supermarket chain Nakumatt’s expansion plans could see it competing with retailers such as Walmart, Shoprite, Pick n Pay and Spar.

As part of a project code-named ‘Nakumatt 2.0’, the company is actively looking at potential opportunities in Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Zambia, Burundi, Malawi and Botswana.

According to a company statement, Nakumatt currently has 33 outlets in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. Plans are also underway to open its first outlet in Tanzania. Kenya is, however, by far the retailer’s largest market.

Nakumatt, which focuses on middle and upper income customers, can expect tough competition from South African retailers like Shoprite, Pick n Pay and Massmart in countries such as Zambia, Botswana and Nigeria. Outside of South Africa, Shoprite currently has a presence 15 African countries. Competitor Pick n Pay has entered markets such as Zambia and Mozambique, and is also eyeing Malawi, Angola and Mauritius. Massmart, which was recently bought by US giant Walmart, is also likely to become a fierce competitor on the rest of the continent.

How we made it in Africa earlier reported that in Nigeria alone, Shoprite plans to open 20 outlets over the next two years. Spar, the voluntary retail trading chain, also last year launched in Lagos, Nigeria, with more outlets set to open in the rest of the country. With a population of over 150 million, Nigeria can certainly accommodate a number of supermarket chains. However, the major challenge retailers face is finding suitable properties to locate stores.

Atul Shah, Nakumatt Holdings managing director, said that a consortium of four Kenyan banks – Standard Chartered, Diamond Trust, Bank of Africa and KCB – has come on board to support Nakumatt’s growth and vision.

Shah added that the company will “seek to share the Nakumatt cake by listing at the regional stock exchanges in due course”.