Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | United Arab Emirates-based investor, Majid Al Futtaim has through his supermarket brand Carrefour, taken over the retail stores operated by Shoprite Checkers Uganda Ltd, as the South African retailer quits the country.
Majid al Futtaim, a leading investor in shopping malls, communities, retail and leisure across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, announced he had concluded an agreement with Shoprite.
According to the agreement, Shoprite will by the end of the year, lease it’s six stores in Uganda to Majid Al Futtaim, who currently operates two stores in Uganda. The six stores include Acacia Mall, Village Mall, Victoria Mall, Lugogo Mall, Clock Tower, and Arena Mall.
As part of the agreement, the Lugogo Mall and Clock Tower properties which are owned by Shoprite, will also transfer to Majid Al Futtaim, who launched the first Carrefour store in Uganda in December 2019 at Oasis Mall, Kampala, and in March 2021 opened its second store in Naalya.
Hani Weiss, the Chief Executive at Majid Al Fittaim Retail says that on implementation of the agreement, the UAE investor will expand its footprint to eight Carrefour stores. Weiss says that their acquisition of Shoprite will boost their vision of expanding in the region “for the long term.”
“We welcome the opportunity to bring our unique Carrefour offering of unbeatable value, range, international standards to more customers across Uganda”, commented Weiss.
Shoprite announced three weeks ago it’s plans to exit Uganda and Madagascar, having earlier withdrawn from Nigeria and Kenya. In the notice to the shareholders, the company said it was refocusing it’s business interests to Southern African countries, where it made more business sense.
“This agreement represents our continued investment in East Africa. We look forward to strengthening our offering in the region and supporting local talent through employment and career development opportunities.”
Shoprite’s exit followed that of Kenya’s Nakumatt and Uchumi supermarkets which left billions of Shillings worth of debts to suppliers, workers’ salaries and rent arrears.
Among the reasons widely cited is failure by the supermarkets to respond to customer preferences, low salary levels which led to theft by the workers, as well as stocking imported groceries which are deemed more expensive than local products.
Carrefour says it currently provides 20,000 products across its stores, of which 98 per cent are locally sourced. Other services include online shopping for its customers through partnerships with Glovo and Jumia Food.
Majid Al Futtaim operates over 375 Carrefour stores in 17 countries, serving more than 750,000 customers daily and employing over 37,000 colleagues.
Across Carrefour’s stores, Majid Al Futtaim says it sources over 80 per cent of the products offered from the region, making it a key enabler in supporting local producers, suppliers, families and economies.