By John Majau
Naivas supermarket chain has opened a branch Fusion’s Greenwood city mall in Meru town.
The supermarket is also eyeing new stores in Maua and Isiolo towns after opening its first outlet in the Mount Kenya East region.
Meru becomes the 87th branch the retailer has opened as it steps up its expansion drive.
The Naivas branch, located at the new mall, Meru Greenwood Park, is among the four outlets that had been planned to be opened.
“We have always wanted to be here and we assure the people of Meru of good service. This is our first branch in this region and we are targeting Maua and Isiolo towns where we will open branches in the near future,” said Naivas chief commercial officer Willy Kimani during the official opening ceremony.
Mr Kimani said the store will employ at least 110 people.
The retailer also plans to source agricultural produce from local suppliers.
Naivas’ expansion comes as a positive development in the region where former giant retailers Nakumatt and Uchumi exited.
“We are aware that two main stores were operating here and shut down, but we are up to the task. The market has been tough, but we will continue to work with all parties concerned, including the local community where we will source some of our products,” Mr Kimani said.
The retail chain plans to open outlets at Kahawa Sukari in Kiambu,Ruai and Ojiji Road, Parklands in Nairobi.
“What we are saying is that we will continue filling the voids that exist as we approach the festive season,” said Mr Kimani
The retailer has been on an aggressive expansion spree in the last few months, taking up prime space vacated by rivals and also new strategic locations.
It gained financial muscle to fund the growth after raising Sh6 billion from institutional investors, including Amethis Finance which took a 30 percent stake in the firm.
Naivas and its rivals Quick Mart and Carrefour are among the retailers spending heavily to expand, seeking to fill voids left by the collapsed and beleaguered supermarkets.