Choppies supermarket could be at the verge of closing down its operations in Kenya, following a strained relationship with suppliers which has seen its shelves go empty for weeks now.
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.
Currently, the retailer headquartered in Botswana is surviving on reduced customer traffic, who are greeted by empty shelves and ‘hopeless’ staffers, reported to have gone for months without pay.
According to a statement by the Kenya Union of Commercial, Food and Allied Workers (KUCFAW) Secretary General Boniface Kavuvi, 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 company had around 260 branches across Africa, but has seen the number reduce drastically to 48.
In Kenya, the retailer had at least 11 branches, but has closed several, the latest being Kiambu and Bungoma.
While venturing into Kenyan market, the retailer hoped to take over the space left by cash strapped Uchumi and Nakumatt Supermarkets, which have closed several branches across the country.
Seemingly the dream could not be achieved, with most Kenyans sticking to locally known brands of chain retailers.
The company has remained mum about the developments.