For those who may have been waiting to see a new look Nakumat supermarket Lifestyle branch to open its doors for business are in for a rude shock. The hope of a new look Nakumatt Lifestyle ever coming up with the completion of the newly refurbished Hazina Towers have been dashed after Naivas supermarket took charge of the building.
Nakumatt just like Uchumu and Tuskys supermarkets has had more than its fair share of financial tribulations that have virtually paralyzed all operations. At the same time, matters are not helped by the continued closure of the Charter-house bank that the US-based FBI accused of being a conduit for money laundering by drug peddlers. The bank has remained closed since 2006 and reportedly holds millions of deposits from Nakumat supermarket.
Creditors and the building owners NHIF have taken what they could from the elite supermarket that once straddled into neighbouring Uganda and Rwanda
Charter-house bank was closed down and a major investor former MP John Haroun Mwau of Kilome constituency, was banned from ever stepping on US soil. FBI further moved to freeze at least 12 bank accounts associated with Mwau accused of being a major drug kingpin in Kenya.
Looters suspected to be former employees of Nakumatt were not idle either, they have been accused of carting away stock worth Kshs 200 million as the building was undergoing refurbishments, investigations by The Weekly Vision revealed.
As if that is not enough creditors and the building owners NHIF have taken what they could from the elite supermarket that once straddled into neighbouring Uganda and Rwanda. The new kids on the block Naivas are calling the shots from the 12 storied newly refurbished Hazina trade centre.
Meanwhile, unpaid staff who were seeing a tiny light at end of the tunnel with Lifestyle expected re-opening at a new outlet have had their hopes dashed. Creditors and suppliers are still in court while some of the former directors have long fled the country. The multi-storied shopping complex with underground basement car parking is the new skyline in Nairobi’s CBD.
As the Naivas star shines many are warning that all that glitters is not gold. Many have come and gone down the drain like Nakumatt once associated with Ajah Shah’s family.
The new outlet becomes Naivas supermarket’s 67th branch and its fourth outlet in the busy Nairobi CBD at a time its closest rival Tuskys has shut several stores due to cash flow challenges. Naivas also plans to open an additional two outlets — a food market in Rongai and a supermarket at Ananas Mall in Thika — before the year ends.
Chief commercial officer Willy Kimani told The Weekly Vision that the new branch would “cater to the resilience of the retailer in defying a tough business environment” due to Covid-19 disruptions to keep up with its growth and expansion strategy.
“The new store, a food market is the first of our stores of this format within the CBD (central business district). “It will be stocked with a variety of quality products to choose from, ranging from fresh produce, branded food, general household items, electronics among many others,” he said.
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