Kenya boasts a thriving retail industry with several successful supermarkets, many of which are owned by prominent businessmen.
1. Shirvling Supermarket
Established two decades ago, Shirvling Supermarket has earned a reputation for offering quality goods and attractive discounts. The supermarket has branches in Kisii, Migori, Kisumu, Kericho, Homabay, and Nyamira.
Although not much is known about the history of the supermarket, it is said to be owned and managed by Mr. Rajesh Patel. However, despite its popularity, Shirvling Supermarket has faced accusations of worker oppression and underpayment in the past.
2. Naivas Supermarket
Naivas takes the crown as the largest supermarket in Kenya, with an impressive over 100 outlets spread across the country. Naivas is headquartered in Sameer Business Park, Nairobi, where its main warehouse is located.
The retail giant has employed over 8,000 individuals. Its origin can be traced back to 24th July 1990 when it operated as Rongai Self Service Stores Limited. However, it underwent a significant transformation in 2007 and rebranded as Naivas.
The supermarket’s ownership history has been intricate, starting with Peter Mukuha Kago as the founder. After his passing in 2010, Walmart, through its subsidiary Massmart, acquired a 51% stake in Naivas.
In 2020, Amethis Finance, a French firm, acquired a 30% stake, and in 2022, IBL Group, an investment company from Mauritius, purchased a significant chunk of Naivas.
Presently, the Mukuha family owns 60% of the supermarket, while IBL Group owns the remaining 40%.
Naivas has ambitious plans for expansion, aiming to acquire four more branches to reach a total of 100 outlets across the country.
3. Maguna Supermarket
Simon Wachira, the owner of Maguna Andu Wholesalers, has made Maguna Supermarket a household name in the Mount Kenya region.
The supermarket has branches in Murang’a, Embu, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Meru, Chuka and Nairobi.
Besides his supermarket venture, Simon Wachira also owns Hotel Nakros in Murang’a and the Riverine Hotel And Spa.
Known for his philanthropic nature, Wachira has a modest background, starting as a hawker in Mukuyu in the 1980s before achieving remarkable success as an entrepreneur.
However, despite his success, Wachira prefers to remain media-shy and seldom discusses his journey to prosperity.
4. Quickmart Supermarket
Quickmart is the second-largest supermarket chain in Kenya, trailing closely behind Naivas. Founded in Nakuru in 2006 by the late businessman John Kinuthia, Quickmart rapidly expanded its footprint in the retail market.
In 2020, the supermarket merged with Tumaini Self Service Limited and adopted the brand name Quickmart.
The majority share of the business shifted to Sokoni Retail Kenya, owning more than 50%, while the Kinuthia family retained less than 50% ownership.
Currently, Quickmart operates 58 branches across 15 counties in Kenya.
5. Mulleys Supermarket
Mulleys is a family-owned business that was founded in the 1960s by Peter Ngumbi Mulei. The supermarket was initially a retail store, called Peter Mulei and Sons Limited. As the business flourished, the business became a supermarket in 2010.
Presently owned by Eric Ngumbi, the late Peter Ngumbi’s son, Mulleys recently faced financial difficulties, leading to the closure of five out of its ten branches in 2021.
The supermarket’s headquarters are located in Machakos town, with five remaining branches in Makueni, Machakos, Nairobi, and Kitui.
6. Eastmatt Supermarket
Headquartered in Mau Narok, Nakuru County, Eastmatt Supermarket was founded in 1990 by Kamau Chege. Its original name was Eastleigh Mattresses Limited.
Eastmatt has taken a cautious approach to expansion for a long time compared to other family-owned supermarkets like Mulleys.
The supermarket currently operates nine branches across Nairobi, Kajiado, Nakuru, Machakos, and Kirinyaga. Kamau Chege continues to serve as the executive chairman of the supermarket.
7. Khetias Supermarket
Known for its competitive prices and high-quality goods, Khetias Supermarkets commenced operations in Kitale town in 1982.
The business is owned by the Khetia family in Kitale, under the management of Ashock Khetia, with Mohan Khetia serving as the group CEO.
Operating as Khetia Drapers Limited, the supermarket currently has 18 branches in Busia, Kakamega, Nairobi, Kisumu, Naivasha, and Eldoret.
These are just a few of the many successful supermarkets in Kenya that have helped to make Kenya a major retail hub in East Africa.