Kenyan chains Quickmart and Tumaini merge, plan further stores

Tumaini owner Sokoni Retail Kenya has been given the go head by Kenya’s Competition Authority to acquire a majority stake in supermarket chain Quickmart. The two chains will be merged under the Quickmart name in a deal which will see Quickmart founder John Kinuthia cede control.

The integration of the two places will take place over the next 12 months. The new business will become the fourth largest supermarket chain in Kenya by revenues, after Tuskys, Naivas and Carrefour (Majid Al Futtaim). It will have 24 outlets overall, of which 18 are in Nairobi (the remaining stores are in Kisumu and Nakuru) – the third largest network in the country. Both chains operate larger neighborhood supermarkets in outlying suburbs of Nairobi and satellite towns.

Sokoni Retail Kenya is a special purpose vehicle controlled by Mauritius-based private equity firm Adenia Partners, which concluded its acquisition of a majority stake in Tumaini in December 2018. The company plans to launch a further 6 stores in Kenya in 2019, bringing the overall store network up to 30. Both Tumaini and Quickmart have been expanding their store networks this year.

Peter Kang’iri has been appointed as Group CEO and managing director to oversee the transition and implement business strategy and expansion.

Trendtype believes this is the first of a series of mergers and acquisitions as the sector goes through a period of shakeout. Even with the rapid downsizing of Nakumatt and Uchumi, there are now five major supermarket chains in Kenya (Tuskys, Naivas, Carrefour, Shoprite and now Quickmart) but a long tail of second tier retailers with small, vulnerable store networks. At the higher end this includes Chandarana Foodplus, under direct pressure from Carrefour particularly. We suspect that Choppies, the distressed Botswanan chain, may sell its Kenyan store network. But for a long time second tier chains such as Khetia Drapers, Cleanshelf, Mulleys, Eastmatt have managed to thrive against relatively unsophisticated competition by international standards.

Those days are over with modern supermarket retail in Kenya under pressure to adopt international benchmarks for operational efficiency, supply chain management and stock control, cost reduction, customer service and price cutting. Especially given the impact that Carrefour and Shoprite will have on the retailing landscape.