By Faith Nyambeki
Long gone are the days when the supermarket sub-sector was in the clasp of Tuskys and the now defunct Nakumatt. The exit of the latter from the Kenyan market seemed to have opened the doors for foreign owned retailers. The family owned Tuskys supermarket is clutching at straws and the possibility of its survival depends on a motley of variables. This writer takes a look at the leading supermarkets chains in Kenya.
The supermarket chain that was founded by the late John Kinuthia in Nakuru in 2006 is quickly becoming a major player in the retail space thanks to the stewardship of his son Duncan Kinuthia. Quick Mart growth from its first Nairobi branch in Ruai in 2010 has been nothing short of phenomenal. Sokoni Retail Kenya, owned by Adenia Partners of Mauritius, acquired 100% shares in Quick Mart Limited. It’s also worth noting that Adenia Partners acquired Tumaini Self Service Limited on 11th October, 2018 which is expected to trade under the Quick Mart brand. The supermarket is a one stop retailer. It is known for its delicious food, grocery, apparels, electronics, household goods and drinks.
This is seemingly the only old timer standing strong. Naivas was founded by the late Peter Mukuha Kago but it has gone to sell part of its shareholding to Amethis Finance, a French Equity firm and International Finance Corporation. The supermarket is a one stop shop for fresh produce, furniture, electronics and much more. The largest supermarket chain with over 63 outlets shareholding is as shown below:
As of November 2014
- David Kimani – 25%
- Simon Gachwe – 25%
- Linet Wairimu – 15%
- Grace Wambui – 15%
- The Estate of Peter Mukuha Kago – 20%
Amethis Finance acquired a 30 percent stake in the supermarket chain in February 2020. The International Finance Corporation, that includes PE fund French private equity firm Amethis, Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG), a German Development Finance Institution, and Mauritian Commercial Bank (MCB) Fund acquired, US$15 million (KSh1.5 billion) two months later.
The supermarket controlled a large pie of the market share after the exit of Nakumatt. The family owned retailer has been on a free fall as shelves remain empty and not willing to replenish stock. The retailer has over 63 branches and employees about 6,000 workers.
*As at end of 2018
|Shareholder||Stake in Tuskys (%)|
|Yusuf Mugweru Kamau||17.5|
|Stephen Mukuha Kamau||17.5|
|Sammy Gatei Kamau||17.5|
|George Gachwe Kamau||17.5|
|Mary Njeri Kamau (deceased)||10|
|Mary Njoki Kamau||10|
|John Kago Kamau||10|
The giant South African retailer target market seems to be the middle and upper income class segments. It has outlets in Mega City Mall in Kisumu, Garden City and Karen Waterfront, both in Nairobi. The supermarket has some good bicycles, camping gear, bags, electronics, basic foodstuff among other products.
The hypermarket operated by Majid Al Futtaim has a total of eight stores in Kenya. The retailer has a wide selection of products and ranks among the best supermarkets in the country. It has over 240 employees.
Chandarana Food Plus Supermarkets
The supermarket was founded by the late Shantilal Mulji Thakkar as a grocery store in 1964. Chandarana is now under the stewardship of his three sons Anil Thakkar, Sanjay Thakkar and Dipan Thakkar. The store has 17 branches spread across the country. Chandarana is favored by the Asian community.
The family owned retail chain has a total of 9 branches spread across the country. The proprietor Kamau Chege is never in a hurry to set up supermarkets in every major town has been the case with other retail chains. Eastmatt started its operations in Mau Narok then known as Eastleigh Mattresses in 1990.
The supermarket was started in 1969 by Peter Ngumbi Mulei as a wholesale business. It was not until 2010 Peter Mulei and Sons diversified into retail. As of 2020, the Mulei’s supermarket chain has grown to 10 outlets, three wholesale operations and a distribution centre. The family owned retail chain has all the basics under one roof.
Other supermarkets that are wholly owned by Kenyans include:
- Powerstar Supermarket in Kasarani and Ruiru
- Kassmatt Supermarket
- Magunas Supermarket
- Cleanshelf Supermarket