Kenya’s retail giant and East Africa’s once biggest supermarket chain, Nakumatt supermarket, suffers a quick death as creditors vote to liquidate it

Nakumatt supermarket
  • On Tuesday, creditors of Kenyan retailer voted to unwind the supermarket chain
  • In 2018, the High Court approved the appointment of Mr. Kahi as an administrator.
  • At the height of its operations, Nakumatt Supermarket employed over 4,000 employees and was East Africa’s biggest supermarket chain.

Nakumatt supermarket, once Kenya’s biggest retailer is no more.

On Tuesday, creditors of Kenyan retailer voted to unwind the chain after effort to rescue it failed.

Peter Kahi, the court-appointed administrator, broke the news to a meeting of creditors present for the vote.

“It is liquidated basically,” said Peter Kahi.

In 2018, the High Court approved the appointment of Mr. Kahi as an administrator. He was expected to manage the settling of debts estimated at more than $300 million and try to revive the retail giant in a slimmed down version with about 20 branches.

At the height of its operations, Nakumatt Supermarket employed over 4,000 employees and was East Africa’s biggest supermarket chain with more than 60 outlets spread across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.

However, mismanagement brought it to its knees and now its dead as a dodo. Ex-Nakumatt CEO Atul Shah now faces the risk of his assets being seized over loss of billions.

Mr Shah and his son, Ankoor Shah, are accused of accessing and failing to refund interest-free loans amounting to Sh1 billion from the retail chain at a time when the stores were struggling to repay its suppliers, landlords and other creditors.

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