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Retailers count their profits after holidays

Nairobi supermarkets have recorded good sales in the festive season but some say they only just bettered the previous year.

Naivas, for instance, recorded a 36 per cent growth which covered about 92 per cent of its target. The festive season accounted for most of the annual sales.

“Compared to the 2012-2013 period, business was better, but we did not meet expected targets,” said Willy Kimani, the marketing manager at Kenya’s third largest retail chain.

He attributed the deficit to low expenditure by consumers, owing to high cost of living and competition by other chains.

“People did not spend as we expected in this festive season,” he said.

Jonathan Ciano, the Uchumi Supermarkets chain CEO said it was still early to predict since sale promotions were still going on. He, however, noted that business was going according to plan.

“The figures we have so far indicate that things are going as planned, targets are being met and we are doing good business,” said Ciano.

The season promotions began during Kenya’s 50th Independence anniversary and continued into Christmas and New Year.

Uchumi launched a two-month ‘Shangilia’ promotion that began on November 18, 2013.

“Marking of the anniversary by coming up with a promotion and reducing prices of essential goods has driven ours sales up,” said Ciano.

“By the end of the ‘Back to school’ offer and the ‘Shangilia’ promotion I am certain we will have hit our target,” he added.

Unlike Kimani, Ciano admitted that in spite of the tough times, Kenyans still indulged during the festivities.

The performance of ‘Christmas Kikwetu’ promotion by Naivas did not disappoint either.

“Household goods sold faster because of our price cuts,” said Kimani.

Offers for the form one students reporting to school are expected to kick off in late February and early March to further boost sales.

“Like the years before, we expect increased sales of furniture, electronics and clothing towards the end of February,” said Kimani.

To grow business, supermarkets are increasingly opening branches throughout the city and the country at large.

Within the first quarter of this year, Naivas plans to open new branches in Kisumu, Nyeri and Syokimau.

Mr Ciano said Uchumi will open branches at Syokimau, Maua and Juja in January. Besides, they plan to open a branch in Ukunda in two months and hold a ground-breaking ceremony for the Nyeri branch on January 18.

On the other hand, as Kenya marked its 50th anniversary, Nakumatt opened its latest branch in Lavington.