Nairobi – Uchumi Supermarkets will open its first branch in Kigali by year end as it seeks to cement its regional presence and diversify from the domestic market.
Chief executive Jonathan Ciano said on Thursday the retailer would employ 150 workers. He did not disclose how much the project would cost.
“We are seeking more growth and expansion across the region. We will be opening two more branches in Dar es Salaam by the end of June to add to the existing three,’’ Ciano said.
The supermarkets chain said it plans to open more outlets in the rest of Africa. Uchumi’s entry into Rwanda sets the stage for competition with Kenya’s largest retailer Nakumatt.
The retailer is also expected to face stiff rivalry from Simba Supermarkets and the Chinese T-2000 shops which are popular in Rwanda. He said the regional expansion coincides with its strategy to cover major towns.
Uchumi, which has six branches in Uganda, plans to use cash from its planned rights issue to open stores in Rwanda and South Sudan this year.
The expansion drive comes as its rival Nakumatt is closing a deal to acquire three Tanzanian outlets owned by South African retail chain Shoprite.
The Nakumatt deal involves the takeover of three Shoprite outlets — one in Arusha and two in Dar es Salaam at an estimated sh4b.