Uchumi Supermarkets, often referred to simply as Uchumi, is a Kenyan supermarket chain. The word "uchumi" means "economy" in Swahili.
Uchumi Supermarkets Ltd (Uchumi Supermarkets Limited) is a Kenya-based company engaged in the retail supermarkets operation. It distributes bakery, wines, meat, fish, vegetables, as well as kitchen appliances and decoration, among others. The Company operates a network of 37 branches across East Africa.
On 17th December 1976, Uchumi shareholders-Industrial Commercial & Development Corporation (ICDC), Kenya Wine Agencies Limited (KWAL) and Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC) - all Government owned parastatals entered into a management contract with Standa SPA of Italy. Standa, a leading supermarket group with a presence in Europe and vast retail experience was given the task to manage and train Kenyan personnel who would eventually take over the running of the organization. In the 1990's Uchumi spearheaded the hypermarket concept in Kenya.
In early 2000s Uchumi started to experience financial and operational difficulties occasioned by a sub-optimal expansion strategy coupled with weak internal control systems.. As a result, on 31st May 2006, the Board of Directors resolved that the Company ceases operations and on 2nd June 2006, the Debenture Holders placed the Company under receivership. Simultaneously, the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) suspended the Company’s listing on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE).
Following a framework agreement between the Government of Kenya, suppliers and debenture holders, the company is revived and commenced operations from 15th July, 2006 under Specialized Receiver Manager (SRM) and interim management.
The management and staff have since worked tirelessly to redeem the company. From a negative bottom line in 2006, the company has reported profits in the last three financial years. The lending banks in turn lifted the company’s receivership in 2010 and the company was successfully re-listed in the Nairobi Securities Exchange on 31st May 2011 – exactly five years to the date that it was suspended. The company is indebted in gratitude to the government, lending banks, our suppliers, customers and shareholders for their support and commitment to saving one of Kenya’s oldest strongest brands.