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Kenya retail supermarket among the best

Only one African retailer other than those out of South Africa has achieved a world ranking - and that retailer is in Kenya.
Nairobi - Nakumatt Holdings, a Kenyan supermarket chain, has made the prestigious Planet Retail top 30 global retailers listing. The chain made position 25 in the Planet Retail Top 30 Grocery Retailers in Africa and the Middle East, 2006 rankings.

Planet Retail, a leading provider of intelligence on the global retail and foodservice industries, publishes the coveted global listing annually. It monitors more than 5,000 "banner" operations as well as market developments in 211 countries.

According to Planet Retail, the Kenyan chain is also an African retail player to watch on its debut ranking.

To make it to the top 30, the chain beat Germany's Metro Group, UAE's Abu Dhabi Co-op, Malaysia's Petronas, Saudi Arabia's Farm and Lebanon's Le Charcutier Aoun.

In a report titled A Race for Opportunities Planet Retail's retail analyst Oliver Heins says Nakumatt is the only African retailer out of South Africa that made it on the prestigious rankings.

“Kenyan retailer Nakumatt is a player to watch. It holds the leading position in Kenya and has ambitions to open stores throughout East Africa. Apart from Nakumatt, no other African retailer (excluding South African ones) has made it into the ranking,” says Heins.

He says other than the principal South African players and Nakumatt, there is little to report on movements by other chains across sub-Saharan Africa.

Speaking moments after receiving the news, Atul Shah, Nakumatt Holdings managing director, expressed his pride for the ranking, which he attributed to support by the firm's stakeholders. He noted that the listing had served to justify the firm's claim to be a world-class trendsetter. “As a truly Kenyan company, I am proud that global research organizations have recognized Nakumatt's standards, which are at par with the world's best,” he said.

Highlights in the report confirm that South African retailers continue to dominate the ranking, though French retailer Carrefour is expected to become the third largest retailer by 2012.

Heins pointed out the South African's strength reflects the overall size and developed nature of their home market, but hot on the South Africans' heels, the report explains that French retailers hold the second highest regional share, reflecting Carrefour and Casino's operations in Northern Africa and the Middle East via franchises.

Their collective share of sales within the Top 30 amounts to 12% of the regional total, although individually they only obtain single-digit shares.

The annual report findings are compiled from data computing based on sales performance, corporate strategy and growth plans.

To see the rankings and an analysis of them, click here

About Carole Kimutai

Carole Kimutai is a writer and editor based in Nairobi, Kenya. She is currently an MA student in New Media at the University of Leicester, UK. Follow her on Twitter at @CaroleKimutai.