Kenya’s ailing supermarket chain, Nakumatt’s downturn has sent shock-waves not only in the minds of those who believed in its initial great expansion, but even more squarely to its royal customers who are now frantically trying to fill in the obvious gap.
These customers must now be missing a number of experiences that they used to get from this 3 decades old supermarket chain. Here are a few things that come top of the mind:
1. Customer experience: The service at Nakumatt was certainly impeccable: From the smiling, smart-looking and friendly staff to the ambience, almost everything about shopping at Nakumatt was amazing. Anytime that you shopped there, your goods were assorted, packed well in the car and the staff didn’t behave as if they were expecting a tip.
2. Ample Space: The space at most of the Nakumatt branches was as ample as a football arena. The children loved it all. As you shopped, the kids had a chance to be all over the place enjoying themselves. This was a major plus for parent shoppers.
3. Emotional connection with the Brand: Nakumatt was the E.A (East Africa) top brand and a giant chain. It came out as a sense of pride to many. Not so long ago, I was in Rwanda and just appreciated the elephant symbol, and I felt a sense of pride in me, just being a Kenyan. The blue color symbolized freedom, imagination, expansiveness and stability. Customers will certainly miss this color blue!
4. A cog in Regional Economy: As of December 2015 Nakumatt had nearly 65 stores in the African Great Lakes region including; Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. It employed over 5,500, and had gross annual revenue in excess of US$450 million. This was a symbol of abundance. Indeed, as its tag-line went, if you needed it, you were always assured that you would get it! You could tell the relaxed experience as people enjoyed shopping.
5. The Malls Connection: There seem to have been a symbiotic relationship between the many Malls that have been mushrooming in Nairobi and other cities across the region and this chain – Nakumatt.
Some notable branches that gelled so well with the respective host malls included Nakumatt Mega, Nakumatt Junction, Nakumatt Ukay, Nakumatt West Gate, Nakumatt Prestige, Nakumatt Galleria, Nakumatt Lifestyle, Nakumatt TRM and Nakumatt Garden City Mall In the process, the chain has played a significant role in the urban development in this regard. Other brand name stores, banks, international eateries, theatres must have been sure beneficiaries just seating next to these stores.
There must be a certain silent cry in the hearts of as many Nakumatt customers. They all seem to be silently mumbling a common prayer: “can the retail chains gods conspire somewhere and just bring our Nakumatt back?”
George Wachiuri is an Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Motivational Speaker and the CEO, Optiven Group. To get more details on how you can invest with Optiven Ltd.
By George Wachiuru
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