Nakumatt Holdings has been losing a store every 20 months in the last five years. There has however been a silent period of over 4 years.
It started in November 2008, when the supermarket chain had its Thika Road branch demolished to pave way for the expansion of Thika Road.
Branch manager at that time, Mr. Thomas Kamau was quoted saying that they had lost close to Sh500 million.
Barely three months later, on January 28th, Nakumatt’s CBD branch, Downtown, was brought down by a huge fire. 29 people lost their lives.
The space it occupied is still empty 5 years later. Apparently, the building that housed it was a historical one, and should resemble the previous one.
Following Westgate’s terror attack last weekend, Nakumatt’s number one branch is gone. Three floors of the mall collapsed, and if the building is declared structurally fine, it will take many weeks to bring it back to its previous state.
In the event engineers declare it too weak, it will have to be brought down and God knows whether its owners will rebuild it.
Even if they do, it will take many months.
Nakumatt Managing Director, Atul Shah, is quoted by Business Daily saying that Nakumatt Westgate was their biggest store in terms of revenue. It accounted for 10% of profits, out of the 33 branches in Kenya.
It has also been speculated that Nakumatt Lifestyle may be temporary closed down during the construction of the proposed Hazina Towers, which is set to be the tallest building in Kenya.
At the end of the day, the supermarket is growing faster than it’s losing. In the 5 year period, it may have lost 3 branches, but has opened many more. This includes a big return to Thika Road, through the modern Thika Road Mall.