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Choppies supermarket eyes Nakumatt space hours after being evicted from Nanyuki Mall

Botswana's leading supermarket is betting on taking over as the mall's anchor tenant

Choppies is said to be in talks with owners of the mall to take over as the anchor tenant in the hope that negotiations will end this month so as to pave way for its entry by May.

"We are currently negotiating with the owners of the mall but nothing is signed yet. We hope to have a positive conclusion to the talks by the end of January,” Business Daily quoted one of the retailer's director.

Nakumatt was forcefully evicted from Nanyuki mall on Tuesday over unpaid rent arrears. The retailers' goods were strewn on the streets and stolen by looters, forcing police officers to intervene in the early morning incident.

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Choppies, which entered the Kenyan market in March 2016 by acquiring seven Ukwala stores now boasts of 11 stores across the country. Plans are underway to open new outlets at South Field Mall and Kiambu Mall.

Nakumatt, which is struggling under a debt burden running into billions of shillings, had closed its doors in Nanyuki in November last year with a notice pinned at the supermarket’s entrance indicating that the closure was temporary.

Choppies follows in the footsteps of Naivas, Tuskys and Carrefour supermarkets which have also occupied spaces from which the financially-strapped retail chain has been kicked out.

Nakumatt lawyers have however warned that the ongoing evictions are illegal, claiming they go against a court order prohibiting such action.

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