Saturday, June 29, 2013

An Indian Origin 'Family Business' Spreads OverAll Africa

By Bernard Mulwa / Nairobi

East Africa's top level business Nakumatt Holdings limited, an Indian owned family business is one of the largest in the retail industry and continues to expand and increase the range of goods and services and improve East Africa’s economy by creating more local employment opportunities across the East Africa region.

Initially it was establish and owned by the late  Nemchand Shah Nemubhai who migrated to Kenya from India in 1947.  The business was first registered in 1987, an enterprise strictly dealing with selling of mattresses in Nakuru, so its logo Nakumatt was found. Nakumatt revolution evolved from a modest mattresses business which was taken over by the late Nemubhai way back in 1978. The business soon started expanding its product offering from mere mattresses to FMCG and later consumer durables.

According to the Managing director of Nakumatt Holdings limited,  Atul Shah Haku, said the first brand Nakumatt mega was opened in 1992 along the Uhuru Highway in Nairobi which was being run by the late father  Nemchand Shah Nemubhai and two brothers Maganlal Shah, his sons and 60 employees.

The driving force for this business,  Atul Shah said is the demand of retail market in Kenya, this is the secret behind his successful in doing business in Kenya.
 Atul Shah was born in Nukuru, Kenya on April 1961, and he is the 4 child to  Nemchand Shah. He is married to a Kenyan born Indian and has 2 sons. He has travelled widely and worked in USA in a formal retail sector for 1 year in 1983 and it was during that time when he was in USA got this idea to provide the right quality service, cleanness, the right ambience and a life style to which people want and brought the same idea to Nairobi in 1991 to establish the beginning of a retail revolution in form of Nakumatt mega, the first super store in the country at that time. 

Atul Shah also explained that in this business, they are a successful family of 600 and work as a team. Another important factor to consider before he and his family team decides where to locate a business, is traffic, movement of people, and people how stay around however he said Nakumatt does not own any land or buildings where their business are located, “we are tenants, and we have developed a lot of land lords, ten years ago land was not expensive but now the price of land has gone up and due to this, we do not own any land or buildings” he adds. 

Since 1992, Nakumatt Holdings limited, has opened a total of 40 branches across East Africa, 33 branches in Kenya, four in Uganda, two in Rwanda and one in Tanzania. In East Africa market, Kenya is much ahead in termers of retail and infrastructure as compared to other regions like Tanzania, Uganda. “We are major players in Kenya and we plan to expand in South Sudan and Burundi in two years time” he explains.

In an exclusive interview with INN,  Atul Shah also explained to a journalist that as at now, Nakumatt Holdings limited offers employment to 5,500 people across East Africa and conducts 85,000 transactions a day with a turnover of over $450 million and added that Nakumatt Holdings have 1.5 million Square Feet of selling space and a basket Value of $ 15.
As Nakumatt Holdings vision statement claims, You need it, we’ve got it, have launched the Nakumatt smart Card to further enhance the shopping experience for their customers – a reward card that allows  customers to accumulate smart points with purchase in-store. These points are redeemed in different innovative ‘smart’ rewards. now has over 650,000 members from 190 nationalities, which accounts for over 70 per cent of Nakumatt turnover.

Nakumatt has revolutionized the regional shopping culture by introducing 24 hour shopping services in selected branches. The move has made it easy for shoppers to schedule their supermarkets runs according to their convenience. This has come in handy as shoppers no longer have to wait in long queues during peak hours.  

At all Nakumatt Hypermarkets, customers will be spoilt for choice with their value adding Nakumatt shop N shop partner store. Through this concept, customers can enjoy fresh off the oven confectioneries and snacks from Nakumatt on-site bakery, a huge selection of books and magazines from Books first. Your choice of the latest mobile phones from PhoneXpress, and health products. All Nakumatt branch hold a range of over 50,000 quality products
Mobile Banking: a value added service which allows shoppers to deposit and withdraw cash from Nakumatt out lets through Mpesa.   Equity Banking, Offers shoppers the opportunity to withdraw cash at Nakumatt Tills.    
Nakumatt financial services- Nakumatt Visa Card, the range of gold and silver Nakumatt Visa Credit cards are accepted worldwide in any merchant out let displaying the Visa signage. With Nakumatt Visa Credit the holder enjoys bonus smart points which can be redeemed against future purchases at Nakumatt outlet. The launch of the Nakumatt range of Visa credit cards heralded Nakumatt’s entry in the financial services sector and the program now has 35,000 active card holders.  
Airtime top up for mobile user services is made available and payment of utilities bills at Nakumatt Tills e.g. water and Safaricom postpaid. Nakumatt also acquired Woolmartt supermarket in Nairobi, and launched the Nakumatt travel card, which is the first of its kind in Africa market, available off the shelf at Nakumatt and I&M Bank branches.

planet retail banking as top retail in Africa, outside of South Africa, launched Nakumatt sustainability Think Green Go Blue, Nakumatt Holdings has consistently ensured best practice are maintained in relation to the environment. Nakumatt focus is on aggressively promoting the use of re-usable bags by shoppers. For the past four years, Nakumatt has been using over 30 micron plastic bags for packaging, complemented by use of the reusable bags and has managed to achieve more than 20 per cent on plastic packaging use.   

Nakumatt also has an extensive and unrivalled marketing strategy that offers complete solutions to their shoppers - Nakumatt has introduced smart Card to further enhance the shopping experience for their customers – a reward card that allows customers to accumulate smart points with purchase in-store. 

Nakumatt holdings limited stays ahead of completion by providing quality, value, service, variety lifestyle and the secret behind the successful of Nakumatt business, according to the Managing director,  Atul Shah Haku, said “Nakumatt is doing what the people want; we change and upgrade the lifestyle of people by offering the right quality service, ambience and cleanness”.  Atul Shah Haku looked buoyant about the Nakumatt Holdings future and he is very confident about the East Africa region. “In the next 10 years and in future, we will be big players; there are a lot of opportunities in Kenya and the East Africa region”  Atul  Shah said, adding that with this new constitution in Kenya which is in place, that provides creation of new counties which in turn provides new opportunities.  Atul Shah also observed that in this regard, Nakumatt is committed to enhance economic development by adopting world-class retail store management standards while developments takes shape in the new counties.

According to the director, he also observed that this new government under President Uhuru Kenyatta needs to embrace local business investors and offer support and incentives when they want to expand their businesses, just like it is doing to international foreign investors by exempting tax for some imported goods and products and other small services. 
“In a ratio of 1 to ten, Nakumatt Holdings is number 1 in terms of retail, revenue and customers”, the director said adding that Nakumatt does not have any sister company in the region. However,  Atul Shah, pointed out key achievements that he has brought in retail industry among revolutionize retail in Kenya in terms of formal retailing formats (Hypermarkets) and extended shopping hours of retailing as a convenience to customers. 

He also initiated the 24 hours shopping concept in Sub-Sahara Africa and he is instrumental in creating a corporate Management set-up thereby creating direct jobs to 4600 locals and indirect jobs to thousands. Nakumatt has also received reorganization by the Financial Times as being one of the top 50 emerging entrepreneurs of the BRIC countries and achieved recognition as the most innovative company in the service sector; the director said the major challenge in any business is competition but by providing goods and services all under one roof and by continuous repositioning in the retail industry has enabled Nakumatt to fulfill its motto of “You need it, we’ve got it” and stay ahead of the competition.  

The director said Nakumatt is investing more in training and development of their stuff to ensure performance and job satisfaction and he acknowledged there are a number of priorities and challenges that lie ahead of him in the immediate future. Including developing an integration nation-wide network and expansion into the East Africa region.

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