End of an era: Nakumatt shuts down Prestige branch, 3 stores left
Published on: December 14, 2019 12:44 (EAT)
Nakumatt shut down its Prestige mall outlet this week with rival Naivas taking over the once vibrant supermarket. Two other branches in Lavington and Kisumu were closed with Naivas already moving in to one of the spaces left. The Nakumatt management however remains mum over the shut down that comes one year after it reopened following financial crisis that hit in 2017. Other spaces taken over include the outlet on Moi Avenue in Nairobi and the Likoni branch in Mombasa. The recent take over brings the total number of Naivas outlets to 58 around the country. In June last year, Nakumatt was kicked out of Rwanda’s Kigali City Tower after failing to pay rent for ten straight months, resulting into 80 workers losing jobs. A year earlier, the retailer had been kicked out of a building in Tanzania for failure to pay rent for over a year. It’s Uganda branch was subsequently closed in a move also linked to accumulating rent arrears. The only remaining Nakumatt stores are now in Nairobi: Mega (Mombasa Road) and Highrigde (Parklands) as well as Nakuru (Westside Mall) Nakuru is where the retailer opened its first branch but it remains unclear for how long the Westside outlet will remain operational. A spot check by Citizen Digital on Saturday morning revealed that most of the products at the Highridge branch are on clearance sale indicating another looming shutdown. One of the employees who spoke on condition of anonymity revealed that the store may be closing down as early as December 31. In September this year, court filings indicated that Nakumatt owed suppliers, manufacturers and landlords an estimated Ksh. 40billion; the suppliers include Brookside, Kevian and Tropikal Brands. Creditors had cast doubt on the retailer’s recovery efforts in their last stakeholder engagement in March last year. This after the supermarket’s rival Tuskys pulled out of a deal to inject some level of capital. The supermarket chain that once operated over 30 branches in the country and several others in Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania is now a shadow of its former self.