Retail chain Uchumi Supermarket has opened up five more branches in Uganda and Tanzania as part of its aggressive expansion strategy within the East African region. Within the last two months, the chain has opened four outlets in Uganda, one in Tanzania and four others in Kenya in a strategy the management terms as "playing the game of East Africa".
Chief executive Jonathan Ciano said Uchumi has never been in Tanzania and the branch in Dar es Salaam was proving an instant success through sales. "We have employed more than 150 Tanzanians after trying them in Nairobi on our systems," he said, noting that there was demand to increase its presence in that country.
The last of the new branches were opened in northern Uganda's town of Gulu, while the next one will be the Uchumi Hypermarket in Nairobi Embakasi, which is expected to open its doors in the next two weeks. The construction of Kisii branch is nearing completion, Ciano said.
Last year, Uchumi made a Sh515 million profit, a margin that is projected to rise by between 30 and 40 according to Ciano. Sales revenue rose from Sh4 billion five years ago to Sh12 billion as at the financial year ended June 2011. "Uchumi has reinvented itself and gone back to profitability...May 2011 was the rebirth of Uchumi at the stock exchange.
It was the date Uchumi was given back to shareholders," Ciano told the media over the weekend during the launch the Sherehekea Krismasi na Uchumi promotion at Uchumi Hyper on Ngong Road. "Uchumi has enjoyed a phenomenal year, with the lifting of receivership and re-listing of shares back to the stock exchange," Ciano said.
The promotion which covers the three East Africa states, will run from November 18, 2011 to January 15, 2012 and is Uchumi's way of celebrate its success and reward loyal shoppers. A variety of exciting prizes will be won in the next two months. They include laptops, fridges, shopping vouchers, free annual shopping and school fees cheques. The grand prize is a brand new KIA truck.