Tuskys joins Uchumi, Nakumatt in graveyard of fallen giants

By James Wafula in Nairobi.

Tuskys only surviving branch along Tom Mboya street in Nairobi’s CBD is a tale of good old days that have gone sour.

Depressed and apparently unmotivated staff go around near empty shells trying to poke life into a fire that has long since brought down the once prosperous giant super store.

A spot check by the Workers Eyen found near empty shells telling a grim story of having seen better days.

Bored cashiers attend to a handful of customers many unable to find what they want in the giant that once prided itself as a one “Stop shop” with “everything under one roof”.

The Tom Mboya street branch is the only remaining branch still on its feet.

Most of the branches have long since been taken over by new kids on the block Quickmart and Naivas but the question always remains what really goes wrong with Kenya supermarket one day they are thriving giants, the next day they are no more.

It started with Uchumi which enjoyed decades of nearly unchallenged market presence in Kenya before divesting into Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. Yet something went terribly wrong and one day workers woke up to shock as doors to the super store closed down. Many without paying hard working staff suddenly jobless.

Then it was the turn for Nakumatt a business conglomerate enjoying a multi-million shilling daily turn-over. Something again went wrong and the super store also with presence in neighbouring countries, shut down in record speed.

It was soon time for Tuskys which had enjoyed a lucrative run filling the gap left by its fallen competitors.

Yet in three short years they also joined the “graveyard” of failed supermarkets without paying hard working staff or suppliers for their stock.

Now the question is who will be next and what happens to super profits minted daily? Is it mismanagement or sheer jinx?■

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