The company has registered its intention of getting into the Kenyan retail market by leasing space at an upcoming shopping center in the capital city.
Carrefour, a French international hypermarket chain has booked space in an upcoming project dubbed Two Rivers in an affluent neighborhood in Nairobi.
The Two Rivers project is the brain wave of the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed investment firm Centum – the largest listed private equity company in Eastern Africa.
Centum has lately raised its stake in real estate with an eye on double-digit returns that the sector has yielded over the past decade.
“Centum are continuing to roll out their strategy by breaking out and diversifying their income. They are doing so by going into real estate, agribusiness and energy production as well,” Daniel Kuyoh, Research Analyst, Kingdom Security told CNBC Africa.
The new master planned urban node sits on 100 acres of prime property. The development provides premium facilities comprising of retail, entertainment and lifestyle facilities, modern office parks, residential apartments, hotels and public amenities.
Centum CEO James Mworia said the hypermarket chain has booked 100,000 square feet of the shopping complex expected to be completed October next year.
United Arab Emirates retail giant Majid Al Futtaim is the one bringing the franchise to the country.
This will mark the second major investment of the Dubai-based Al Futtaim family in Kenya following the purchase this year of Nairobi –listed motor dealer CMC Holdings by Abdulla Al Futtaim for 7.5 billion Kenya shilling through his Al Futtaim Group.
The entry of Carrefour, which operates more than 10,100 stores in 34 countries, will shake up Kenya’s formal retail market that is dominated by Nairobi listed Uchumi, Tuskys, Nakumatt, and Naivas and offer the franchise retailer a piece of the market.
In the year ending 2013, Carrefour generated revenues of 100.2 billion Euros.
Several other international retailers have also signed up, taking about half the mall’s space.
“A lot more people are looking at the East Africa retail market and seeing there is untapped opportunity,” said Kuyoh.
South African Johannesburg-listed retail giant Massmart has already booked space at the 12.6 billion Kenya shilling Garden City Mall on Nairobi’s major highway whose first phase is set for completion before December.
BY ELAYNE WANGALWA IN NAIROBI