Uchumi Supermarkets, often referred to simply as Uchumi, is a Kenyan supermarket chain. The word uchumi means “economy” in Swahili.
Uchumi is a public limited company incorporated in 1975 under the Companies Act (Cap 486 of the Laws of Kenya). On 17th December 1976, Uchumi shareholders – Industrial Commercial & Development Corporation (ICDC), Kenya Wine Agencies Limited (KWAL) and Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC) – all Government owned parastatals, entered into a management contract with Standa SPA of Italy. Standa, a leading supermarket group with a presence in Europe and vast retail experience was given the task to manage and train Kenyan personnel who would eventually take over the running of the organization. The first three branches were opened in 1976. Uchumi became a trendsetter in low pricing to the advantage of all consumers, while at the same time maintaining high standards in quality of goods and services.
In the 1990’s Uchumi spearheaded the hypermarket concept in Kenya. The introduction of the hypermarket concept and specialty shops has been a runaway success. It was credited for having revolutionized the retail food sector by giving customers a variety of products to choose from and introducing the concept of self-service. It has also been a major outlet for local manufacturers and suppliers of fresh produce (over 2500 suppliers with an 85 to 15 ratio in favour of local suppliers vis-à-vis imports).
In early 2000s Uchumi started to experience financial and operational difficulties occasioned by a sub-optimal expansion strategy coupled with weak internal control systems. This resulted in a marked diminution of the company’s resources, which culminated in its inability to meet its obligations on an ongoing basis. Initial restructuring of Uchumi did not forestall the deteriorating performance of the company. As a result, on 31st May 2006, the Board of Directors resolved that the company ceases operations and on 2nd June 2006, the Debenture Holders placed the company under receivership. Simultaneously, the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) suspended the company’s listing on the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE).
Following a framework agreement between the Government of Kenya, suppliers and debenture holders, the company was revived and commenced operations from 15th July, 2006 under Specialized Receiver Manager (SRM) and interim management.
In 2008 the company returned a profit of Kshs 106 million against a loss of Kshs 257 million the previous year marking a turnaround of Kshs. 356 million.
Today, Uchumi was one of the largest commercial retailing companies in the country, operating 15 branches – 11 in Nairobi, three up country (Karatina, Meru and Eldoret) and one in Kampala, Uganda.
Uchumi Supermarkets Overview
Uchumi is headquartered in Kenya. As of April 2019, Uchumi is one of a number of Kenyan supermarket chains that serve Kenya , including market-leaders Naivas and Quick Mart and Carrefour. In June 2014, the company’s assets were about US$78.8 million (KES:6.885 billion), with shareholder equity of approximately US$38.4 million (KES:3.357 billion). By December 2020 there were only three stores in Kenya.
The rescue of Uchumi Supermarkets was commenced under the Specialized Receiver Manager (SRM) and interim management plan in 2006. The transformation of the chain stores, under the Uchumi Rescue Plan (URP) which emphasised “reinvented Uchumi for turnaround.” Business performance has continued to improve in the third year running with the on-going implementation of the URP during 2008/9, in spite of the challenging environment.
The positive growth results are attributed to focus and redefined business objectives together with operational efficiency, and the re-launched Uchumi brand in line with the URP. The management has continued to remain focused on operating costs with the ratio to net revenue improving in successive years at 23.7%, 18.8% and 17.2% for 2006/7, 2007/8 and 2008/9 respectively. As a result of prudent cost management, profit after tax increased from operating loss of Shs.257 million in 2006/7 to a profit of Shs.95 million in 2007/8 and now at Kshs 421 million in 2008/9.
The business has continued to substantially meet its responsibilities in corporate obligations to the pre-receivership creditors, current suppliers and the secured debenture holders. Current assets grew from Shs.764 million in 2006/7 to Shs.900 million in 2007/8 and Kshs 1,062 million in 2008/9. Cash and cash equivalents increased by Shs.40 million to Shs.116 million in 2007/8 and to Kshs 128 million in 2008/9. These were complemented by prudent management of inventory which decreased by 3% in 2008/9 despite the 21% growth in business compared to 2007/8. Total current liabilities after reclassification from term loans of Shs.567 million stands at Shs.1, 800 million.
The part implementation of the URP to date has resulted in marked gains in customer and products strategic adjacencies. While the upswing in business performance continues to be realized, the SRM in consultation with the Advisory Committee, the secured creditors and shareholders in the briefing meeting held on 28 July 2009 recognized that Uchumi will technically require to restructure the balance sheet through increased equity to correct the previously eroded shareholders’ funds and simultaneously align the company’s competitive positioning through growth strategic adjacencies and lower debt carrying capacities. The process of raising additional equity through a 10% convertible shareholders’ debenture is on-going and expected to be concluded by 15th November 2009. The success of this exercise will lead to lifting of receivership and a subsequent re-listing of the company’s shares in the Nairobi Stock Exchange, thereby crystallizing the ultimate objective of Uchumi Rescue Plan.
Uchumi Supermarkets History
The company was founded in 1975, as a public limited liability company, by three Kenyan parastatal companies: Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation, Kenya Wine Agencies Limited (KWAL), and Kenya National Trading Corporation. The main objective at the time was to create outlets for the equitable distribution of commodities and to create retail outlets for Kenyan manufactures. In 1976, Uchumi’s shareholders signed a management contract with Standa SPA, an Italian supermarket chain, to train Kenyans to run the new enterprise. The shares of the company stock were listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) in 1992.
Uchumi closed down, albeit temporarily, and was placed in receivership during June 2006 after 30 years of business. It was simultaneously de-listed from the NSE. At the time, its closure was described as “one of the greatest corporate disasters in independent Kenya history”. A government-led rescue plan, however, was initiated and consequently five Uchumi outlets, all in Nairobi, were reopened on 15 July 2006 under interim management and a caretaker administrator.
By January 2011, the retail chain had returned to profitability and applied to the Kenya Capital Markets Authority to re-list its shares on the NSE. Approval to re-list on the NSE was granted in May 2011 and trading in the shares of Uchumi resumed on 31 May 2011.
As of July 2014, the shares of stock of the retail chain are listed on the NSE, where they trade under the symbol “UCHM”. The shares are also cross-listed on the Rwanda Stock Exchange and the Uganda Securities Exchange. The company obtained regulatory approval to cross-list on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange, effective 15 August 2014. The six largest shareholders in the company as of April 2015 were:
Closure of non-Kenyan stores
In June 2015, Uchumi fired its chief executive officer and chief financial officer at the time, for “misconduct and gross negligence”. In July 2015, the company hired a Nairobi-based consulting firm to probe employee theft at the retail chain. In August 2015, a new CEO was hired. In October 2015, the store chain closed down all its stores in Uganda and Tanzania, citing unprofitability. In the process, 900 former employees were laid off in both countries, of whom 400 were in Uganda
In 2009 Uchumi Supermarkets came up with what is being viewed as a first in a fiercely competitive market. The chain entered into a partnership with service firm, Shoppers Direct to offer a home and office delivery service dubbed Okoa Masaa (literally meaning save time), targeting busy executives, professionals and other people who are too constrained for time to shop. Operating on a Hub and Spoke model, selected Uchumi stores will act as the hubs for customers within a defined zone. With competitor Nakumatt having introduced and popularised the 24-hour shopping concept, the onus has been on Uchumi and other players to introduce innovative strategies to not only retain their clientele but also grow their market share.
In the Uchumi delivery service model, shoppers can either call or e-mail in their shopping order list to a call centre situated in the supermarket.
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List of Uchumi Supermarkets Branches
As of April 2019, the supermarket chain maintained Six outlets in Kenya:
Uchumi Supermarkets Branches: Head Office
Uchumi Supermarkets ltd Head Office
KNTC Complex, 1st floor, Yarrow Road,
Off Nanyuki Road (Industrial Area),
P.O BOX : 73167 00200,
Mobile numbers: 0722-205442, 0733-410028,
KNTC Complex, 1st floor, Yarrow Road, Off Nanyuki Road (Industrial Area), Nairobi. Kenya; 020-80200801-5
Address: Langata Rd, Nairobi, Kenya
Phone: +254 722 205442
Nairobi West branch. Providing quality Customer Service while Maintaining the quality to ensure the company’s long term viability.
Adams Arcade branch. Providing quality Customer Service while Maintaining the quality to ensure the company’s long term viability.
Address: Langiri Rd, Nairobi, Kenya
In 2015 Uchumi had 37 stores. 34 stores have closed down.
Uchumi Supermarket Aga Khan Walk
Uchumi Garden City
Uchumi Supermarket Eldoret
KFA Bld ,Muliro Rd, Off Uganda Rd., Eldoret
Tel : 020-8020093,053-2030194,020-2159463
Uchumi Supermarket Embu
Kubukubu road,cylet plaza building,opposite Waumini building
Tel: 68-30222 , 068-30223, 020-2675677
020-2675678, 020-2692319, 020-2675682
Uchumi Supermarket Kericho
Opposite Kericho Prisons., Kericho Town
Tel : 020-8082835/6/7/9
Uchumi Supermarket Karatina
Nyeri -NRB Rd., Karatina Town
Tel : 061-72912/061-72905,020-8020091
Uchumi Supermarket Meru
Kenyatta Rd., Meru Town
Tel : 020-2310895,064-31219/064-30981
Uchumi Supermarket Sarit Center
Uchumi Supermarket Sarit Center,
Tel : 020-2446584,020-4445930,020-4445886,020-206282
Uchumi Supermarket Westlands
Westlands Arcade, Nairobi
Tel : 020-8020090,020-8020087,020-4448997
Uchumi Supermarket City Square
Uchumi Supermarket Agakhan Walk, Nairobi
Tel : 020-2062766,020-2245332,020-8082827
Uchumi Supermarket Ngong’ Hyper
Ngong’ Road, Nairobi
Tel : 020-2446582
Uchumi Supermarket Adams Arcade
Off Ngong’ Road, Nairobi
Tel : 020-3871734,020-2300555
Uchumi Supermarket Nakuru
Uchumi Supermarket Syokimau
Uchumi Supermarket Maua
Uchumi Supermarket Kisii
Uchumi Supermarket BuruBuru
Uchumi Supermarket Jogoo Road
Off Jogoo Rd., Nairobi
Tel : 020-2160729,020-2180043
Uchumi Supermarket Taj Mall Hyper
Tel : 0700-857198
Uchumi Supermarket Capital Center
Mombasa Rd, Nairobi
Tel : 020-2446581,020-553645/7,020-2062765
Uchumi Supermarket Nairobi West
Birongo Sq., Nairobi West Shopping Center
Tel : 020-8020088,020-602193/5
Uchumi Supermarket Lang’ata Hyper
Carnivore Road, Nairobi,
Tel : 020-2446583,020-2062763,020-3875712/3,020-38757
Uchumi Supermarket Jipange
Tel : 020-8563724 , 020-8563725 ,020-2489161
020-2489162 , 020-2489163 ,0726-597938
Uchumi Supermarket Koinange
Tel : 020-2222788, 020-2212357, 020-2127942
Uchumi Supermarkets Contacts
Physical Address: KNTC Complex,1st floor, Yarrow Road,Off Nanyuki Road (Industrial Area),
Postal: P.O.Box73167 -0200 Nairobi
Telephone: Tel: 020-80200801-5,0722-205442, 0733-410028,
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