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Room for growth in Kenya’s modern retail sector

Business

An outlet of Kenyan supermarket chain Quickmart

An outlet of Kenyan supermarket chain Quickmart

Even though modern retail is more widespread in Kenya compared to many other African nations, Alexis Caude, managing partner of private equity firm Adenia Partners, sees substantial growth potential in the sector. Over 70% of goods are still purchased from informal, small stores rather than from air-conditioned supermarkets.

In 2019, Adenia invested in the Kenyan supermarket chain Quickmart and merged it with Tumaini Self Service, a retail operation it had acquired the previous year. Now with 60 outlets, Quickmart seeks to stand out by offering a wide range of fresh products as well as delis where customers can purchase food prepared on-site and consume it within the store.

While Caude describes Quickmart as a successful investment, he acknowledges a recent challenge: the depreciating Kenyan shilling, which adversely affects Adenia’s earnings in US dollars. Despite the shilling’s relative stability in the past, it has faced a steep decline recently, dropping to record lows of over 160 to the US dollar earlier this year.

Although French supermarket brand Carrefour has a presence in Kenya, Caude says he is surprised there aren’t more international supermarket groups operating in the country. “It’s a big market, it’s growing,” he notes.

Read our full interview with Alexis Caude: From solar power to luxury roses – Investor discusses opportunities in Africa

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