More woes for Nakumatt as NSSF evicts it from Lifestyle branch
Cash-strapped retail chain, Nakumatt Supermarkets has suffered a major blow with the eviction from its Lifestyle branch, one of its biggest outlets.
The retailer was kicked out over a Sh73 million rent arrears owed to the landlord, the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
Nakumatt Lifestyle, on Nairobi’s Monrovia Street, on Friday had its main entrance sealed off while two vehicles belonging to the once popular retail chain were clamped by agents hired by the building’s managing estate agency, Tysons Limited.
NSSF communications and public relations manager Christopher Khisa said Nakumatt had failed to pay rent despite numerous reminders since June 1.
“Tysons Limited, who manage our property, will ensure we seize everything that belongs to Nakumatt to enable us recover workers’ money.
That is the next process and no one will be allowed to enter the premises until the issue is fully addressed,” he said in an interview.
Mr Khisa added that sub-tenants ushered in by Nakumatt’s management would have to wait for further orders from Tysons as to whether they will access the premises to remove their wares or will be allowed to continue with their operations.
The Lifestyle branch deputy manager Hezbon Chibini said he had informed Nakumatt’s management over the eviction and was awaiting further instructions on the fate of 95 workers who were stationed at the outlet at the time of its closure.
In its heyday, Nakumatt Lifestyle was a premier 24-hour branch boasting of over 5,000 daily customer visits attributed to its strategic location and wide variety of goods where shoppers walked in while others preferred its ample underground parking.
Its closure brings to about 12 the number of Nakumatt branches shut in Kenya and another four in Uganda and Tanzania.
A notice posted by Tysons’ Real Estate Consultant Wycliffe Ongwae said the premises had been closed indefinitely, but declined to give further information saying they had strict instructions from their client (NSSF) to seal off the premises and seize all assets belonging to Nakumatt.
Its closure could attract a scramble for the prime position space from multinational retail chain operators keen on launching their Kenyan operations as well as local firms who have shown a keen appetite for other former Nakumatt locations.
French retail chain Carrefour have since taken over Thika Road Mall at Roysambu while the fate of Nairobi’s Nakumatt Junction hangs in the balance after property owners sought to evict the retailer over rent arrears.