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BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,6TH SEPT,2019-Choppies Supermarket which is facing difficult financial challenges has announced plans to exit the Kenyan market, four years after acquiring Ukwala stores for Ksh1 billion.
In an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) with its shareholders on Wednesday, the troubled retailer revealed that it had listed its Kenyan assets for sale and has also classified its 12 stores as distressed.
“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. In Botswana there is steady income flow under difficult trading circumstances, South Africa North West business is distressed and identified for disposal,” Wilfred Mpai, Choppies director told shareholders.
So far choppies has already shut down two outlets, Kiambu and Bungoma.
The retailer, which took over from cash strapped Ukwala Supermarket, has been unable to maintain the tempo in the Kenyan retail industry, which has seen its cash flow dwindle.
The retailer which has its headquarters in Botswana is experiencing reduction in numbers of customers who are greeted by empty shelves with reports of employees going for months without pay.
According to a statement by the Kenya Union of Commercial, Food and Allied Workers (KUCFAW) Secretary General Boniface Kavuvi issued in July, Choppies workers have not been paid in full for a long period now.
Choppies was delisted from the Botswana Stocks Exchange and Johannesburg Stocks exchange after it failed to release financial results at the end of June 30 2018.
In May, the board fired the retailer’s CEO Ramachandran Ottapathu following a fallout and reduced profitability for the company which operates in several African countries.
The last five years have been difficult for the retailer which has seen its number of branches reduced from 260 across various countries in Africa to a mare 48.