“You need it, we got it” has been the slogan for Nakumatt Holdings, unfortunately, that phrase can currently be termed as outright “deceptive” going by the current financial woes facing the retail store, which has left most shelves in their branches empty as apprehensive suppliers have kept off.
“I used to shop at Nakumatt but not anymore, nowadays it’s difficult to find everything you need from the stores. The shelves are empty” said Abby, a middle-class consumer who shared her experience with the Kenya Forum.
“I stopped going to Nakumatt when 5 out of every 10 items I needed when shopping were out of stock. I hope it doesn’t turn out as another Uchumi” said another consumer, Mercy.
Nakumatt, touted as Kenya’s largest supermarket chain, has been having a financial crisis and is reported to have accumulated a huge debt from Sh4.7 billion in 2012 to an estimated Sh18 billion as at April 2017.
In January this year, the cash-strapped Nakumatt sold a 25% stake to an international investor in a deal that would see the retailer receive $75 million. However, the windfall of the deal has delayed and slow operations are hurting its cash flows.
Reports indicate that the retailer has not paid its employees their May salaries.
“The supermarket, which runs the highest number of outlets in East Africa, had by Monday not paid 1,555 employees their May salaries and had sent more than 100 on compulsory leave, citing low business volumes,” the Business Daily reported.
Some employees told the Business Daily that Nakumatt has also not been remitting statutory deductions to various agencies such as the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and National Social Security Fund (NSSF, but the retailer insists they are up to date.
“We had a delay in some salary payments. The restructuring has taken longer than anticipated and affected some of our liabilities,” Andrew Dixon, Nakumatt’s marketing director, told the Business Daily.