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End of an era as iconic retailer Ebrahim Supermarket shuts


One of Kenya’s oldest retailers, Ebrahim Supermarket, has closed down its Moi Avenue branch in a move that ends its 75-year run in Nairobi.

The retailer sold all of its stock on discounted prices throughout last week in a massive clear-out that ended on Saturday, marking its last day of operations.

The building that housed the retailer on Moi Avenue will now be converted into stalls and shops with the owner seeking businesses to buy space through posters.

LOST JOBS

At least 30 workers lost their jobs in the move that has closed the chapter on one of the city’s most iconic supermarkets established in Kenya’s pre-independent era.

The Business Daily could not reach Ebrahim’s management by the time this story was filed as e-mail queries and calls did not go through.

A worker said employees were not privy to the goings-on and expressed surprise at the closure that now leaves them jobless.

“Hatujui ni nini anataka mara ni stalls na maduka,” (We do not know what exactly is happening because we are setting up shops and stalls now), said the worker.

Ebrahim was established in 1944 as a supermarket with electronics and computer distribution unit next to Sarova Stanley Hotel on Kenyatta Avenue.

The owner also established an outlet on Kimathi Street that sells electronics.

CLOSED OTHER OUTLETS

The supermarket has in the past closed other outlets in Kisumu, Nakuru and Mombasa leaving only the stores in Nairobi.

“Ebrahim was already an established shopping outlet by 1977 when I joined the University of Nairobi as a first-year student,” recalls veteran journalist Emman Omari.

“You can’t really talk about old supermarkets in Kenya without mentioning it.”

Ebrahim’s closure also follows the near-collapse of troubled retailers Nakumatt and Uchumi, two other pioneer supermarkets that have shut down most of their outlets amid ballooning debts running into billions of shillings.