French retailer Carrefour now wants rights for exclusive occupancy at Kenya's biggest mall

The retailer also wants other businesses including butcheries, green grocers and fruit vendors kept out of the shopping complex

French retail giant Carrefour has moved to the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) seeking protection from competition by local supermarket chains who it wants locked out of its flagship Two Rivers Mall.

In a joint application with the mall owners, Carrefour wants the authority to grant it rights for exclusive occupancy at the shopping complex, touted to be the biggest in Kenya on completion, over a lease period of seven years.

The retail giant also wants other businesses including butcheries, green grocers and fruit vendors kept out of Two Rivers.

“…the parties propose that the lessor shall not lease any part of the Centre to any hypermarket, supermarket, butcheries, green grocers or fruit or vegetable stores or permit the expansion of the leased premises without the written consent of the lessee,” said CAK director-general Wang’ombe Kariuki in a gazette notice published on Friday quoting the agreement between the two parties.

The application, if approved, would fend off other Kenyan supermarket chains and retailers that may be eyeing space to run their businesses at the high-end shopping complex.

Set on 11 acres, with 67,000 sqm of gross lettable area, Two Rivers Mall is the largest mall in Sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa, with almost two hundred stores.

It is located along Limuru road, in close proximity to the affluent neighbourhoods of Runda, Nyari, Gigiri and Muthaiga. Given its sheer size and location, Two Rivers is expected to generate considerable business — putting Carrefour in a firm position to compete with Kenya’s more established retail brands.

The French group’s application to the CAK also effectively frees Carrefour from a previous agreement barring it from opening another branch within five kilometres from Two Rivers.

However, Centum CEO James Mworia said the lease application by Carrefour only relates to new businesses and excludes existing players at the mall. Centum is a Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed investment company with a 58 per cent (majority) shareholding in Two Rivers.

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