Shelves at Uchumi Supermarkets outlets in Nairobi are full to the brim once again, sparking speculation on where the troubled retail chain has found a windfall and whether its troubles are now over.
Uchumi today posted a photo on Twitter showing the progress achieved in its restocking programme that saw the outlets earlier closed for the day. “From tomorrow our customers will have a reason to smile…
#UchumiRestocking #UchumiLoading #UchumiNewLook…,” it tweeted.
The supermarket chain, which had been reeling from liquidity troubles, had Monday night announced that it was shutting down its outlets in Nairobi until Thursday.
The Management wishes to inform the public that Uchumi Nairobi branches will remain closed on 13th December 2017 for restocking our shelves. All Uchumi staff will look forward to welcoming our valued customers back to our stores as we re-open for business on 14th December 2017. We regret any incovenience this may cause,” the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed company said in a notice.
“Delighted to confirm our Uchumi stores will be re-stocked this week. To facilitate this our Nairobi stores will be closed on 13th Dec and reopened on 14th. We look forward to welcoming our customers back to Uchumi,” Chief Operating Officer Andrew Dixon also tweeted early Wednesday.
Uchumi has been hunting for a strategic partner to pull it out of its debt hole, which had seen most suppliers stop stocking its stores.
The status of an escrow account established in July to pay suppliers 30 days after making supplies remains a mystery. In total, retail chains owe suppliers over Ksh 40 billion.
Signs that there is hope of resuscitating Uchumi have also emerged after the company called off an Annual General Meeting scheduled for December 20 to allow for negotiations with a strategic investor.
“Once the negotiations are concluded, a new day for the Annual General Meeting will be agreed and a formal Notice and the Agenda within the statutory notice period,” Company Secretary Enid Muriuki said in a notice to shareholders, adding the meeting will be held before 31st March 2018.
Last week, Dixon had told loyal Uchumi Supermarkets customers to have faith as the supermarket chain planned to make a big comeback, adding that cynics should wait and see.