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Uchumi shuts doors of its Sarit Centre branch after 30 year existence

Uchumi Supermarkets woes continued as they announced the closure of its Hyper branch at Sarit Centre in Westlands, after more than 30 years in operation.

In a statement on Friday the struggling retailer, which has operated the store for over three decades, says it will now look for an alternative space that is “cost-effective” and aligned to “changing trends” in the sector.

The retail chain has over the past months shut non-performing branches across the country as increased competition from old and new rivals as well as a mountain of debt has strained the business.

“The decision is part of the retail store’s comprehensive turnaround plan and new cost management strategy that seeks to streamline its store portfolio and intensify cost efficiency efforts per store,” acting CEO Mohammed Mohammed said.

MORE THAN 30 YEARS

Chief Operating Officer Andrew Dixon noted the Sarit Centre branch had been open for more than 30 years.

“Uchumi has been located at the Sarit Centre for over 30 years and was among the first tenants,” Dixon, said in a statement Friday.

“We will be exploring possible relocation at other venues for our most unviable stores to more cost-effective and strategic locations as part of the ongoing strategy to cut costs, settle debts and optimise cash flow.”

Last month, Uchumi also closed its Jipange branch, located in Ruaraka and its Capital Business Centre branch following sustained low footfall at the outlets which were at one point key to the business’ bottom-line.

In December 2017, the retailer restocked 19 out of its 20 branches across the country with hopes of leveraging on the festive season to register profits.

For most of retail chain Uchumi’s employees, the pain of seeing the company they have worked for die a slow and painful death is unbearable, making it difficult to talk about the subject.