Kenya’s second leading chain store, Tuskys Supermarket, has entered the Ugandan market after it quietly acquired two local retailers, Half Price and Good Price supermarkets.
Tuskys, the third Kenyan supermarket chain to open shop in Uganda, is expected to heighten the competition for shoppers among the Kenyan retailers operating in Uganda.
Half Price and Good Price supermarkets have outlets in Kitintale, Ntinda, Nakulabye and Shauriyako, all in Kampala.
“We are looking forward to branding which we will do in the next two months and after that we learn about the market and begin to think about expansion,” Hassan Ali, Tuskys’ Country Manager told The Observer.
This comes a year after Kenya’s leading supermarket, Nakumatt moved to enhance its regional presence with the opening of a $3 million premier hypermarket in Kampala – becoming the second Kenyan supermarket in Uganda’s market after Uchumi.
Uchumi is currently positioned in fourth place in Kenya, but is one of the leading retailers in Uganda.
Tuskys boosts of 24 outlets within major towns in Kenya commanding a market share of about 20 percent. It is lauded for sealing any gaps left by Nakumatt in Kenya.
“We are looking to expand into the regional market and offer services and goods at a better price,” Ali revealed.
With the cutthroat competition within Kenya, Kenyan supermarkets have been expanding outside the country. Prior to opening in Kampala, Nakumatt Holdings announced investing $20 million in its East Africa expansion plan which would see the chain opening three branches in Uganda, two in Rwanda and four in Tanzania.
This move saw Tuskys, which started as a family business recently rebranding from Tusker Mattresses to Tuskys, a sign of the company’s transformation from a family business to a corporate entity.
“Our strength is our prices, our services. We are a friendly supermarket and our philosophy is that we grow with the market. We grow as the culture of buying in supermarkets for the community we serve grows. We tend to appeal to the masses because of our prices,” Ali said.
Ali, however, acknowledges that penetrating a new ground doesn’t come easily, especially where you are moving out of your mother country for the first time.
“We have been having logistical challenges in terms of getting items but with the creation of the East African Common Market, things are going to change. The fact that we are new in the market, people have been holding back but they are getting used to us and they will start to open up,” said Ali.
Half Price and Good Price supermarkets were subsidiary companies of G.K.O Medicines. They were created as a trading arm for G.K.O. Medicines Ltd., with a specific aim of handling essential domestic commodities and goods other than pharmaceutical or health-related products.
Some of the company directors are; Gilbert Ohairwe, Tanya Ermoshkins, Hasifah Birungi, Hajara Namirembe, Marks Ohairwe and George Ohairwe.
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