Uchumi chain of supermarkets has sent home 253 employees following the closure of five of its branches across the country in the latest round of restructuring.
According to the management, the closure of the outlets namely; Taj Mall, Embu, Eldoret Sugarland, Nakuru and Kisii will help reduce the retailer’s operational costs enable it to concentrate its efforts on a leaner structure as dictated by the current business environment.
“Their closure will enable us channel our resources to fewer branches and optimize operations for maximum gain,” said Uchumi’s Chief Executive Officer in a statement, Dr. Julius Kipng’etich adding that Uchumi’s recovery plan was on track and that closing the bleeding stores would ‘hasten the retail chain’s rise to sustainability’.
The one-time giant of retail has been struggling to make a turn around since it was put under receivership in June 2006 over a debt of Sh3 billion. The receivership ended on March 4, 2010, after most of the company’s debts were cleared and others converted into shares and Uchumi resumed trading on the Nairobi Securities Exchange on May 31, 2011.
UCHUMI SHUTS DOWN OPERATIONS IN UGANDA AND TANZANIA
Last year October, Uchumi Supermarkets close down regional units in Uganda and Tanzania n a drastic move, which the management said was aimed at stopping financial bleeding and speedup the process of stabilising its Kenyan operations.
“Our outlets in Uganda and Tanzania make up only 4.75 per cent of our operations yet they account for over 25 per cent of our operating costs. The two subsidiaries have not made any profits over the last five years, which means they have been draining the parent operations,” said Mr Kipng’etich.