Retailer Choppies Plans to Exit Kenyan Market 

Kenya retail sector performance in 2019

Choppies Supermarket Kenya, part of the Botswanan retailer Choppies Enterprises says it plans to sell its stores citing a highly increasingly competitive retail market.

A few weeks ago, it also announced that it would be exiting the South African market too.

“Zambia has a steady performance in a volatile economy, Kenya’s distressed business has been identified for disposal. Tanzania and Mozambique are distressed while Namibia is performing as expected,” Wilfred Mpai, Choppies director told shareholders during an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) with its shareholders on Wednesday.

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In 2017, the retailer had projected it would grow its stores at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.4 in the next five years.  

However, it was forced to close two of its 15 branches after failing to pay suppliers and employees. Early August, it signed an agreement with its suppliers where all outstanding payments would be cleared. “We recognize how important prompt and on-time payments to suppliers are to the economic health of the sector and are pleased to confirm that Choppies are now able to adhere to all agreements,” it had stated as a demonstration of its commitment to doing the right thing.

During the time, it had also allayed fears that it was shutting down and emphasised that the business had been recapitalized and “it is back on track.”

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The retailer who is dually-listed on the BSE and JSE, then, in its 2017 Financial Year report, for Kenya, it had said “The market is ripe for a turnaround, and we are hopeful that this will pay off,” after the conclusion of revamping stores taken over from Ukwala in 2016 for KSh1 billion.

However, its shares have been suspended on both bourses since November 1, 2018.

Choppies has operations in eight African countries; Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Namibia.