•The opening of Panda Mart comes at a time when Kenya’s retail sector is experiencing an expansion across board.
•According to Panda Mart representative for sales Lee Jinglin, the store will stock furniture, hardware, homeware and electronic appliances.
International players joining Kenya’s trade and retail sectors are shying away from fast moving consumer goods to avoid competing with established chains.
The trend that started last year with China Square, has extended into 2024 with latest entry being Panda Mart, a retail chain store with a presence in more than 12 countries in Africa.
In a shift of tradition from other retailers entering the Kenyan Market, Panda Mart has taken over as the anchor tenant at Garden City Mall but will not stock fast moving consumer goods
Panda Mart sales representative Lee Jinglin said the store will stock furniture, hardware, homeware and electronic appliances.
Having injected $7million (Sh1.14 billion) in their Kenya market entry, the investors are eyeing to add four more outlets in major cities.
The retailer six month plan includes open a store in Karen followed by stores in Kisumu, Eldoret and Mombasa.
Garden City Group CEO Samuel Kariuki said that with Panda Mart on board, occupancy at Garden City Mall has increased to 92 percent, with a projection on increase in interest in the Mall from a tenant perspective.
He said they are targeting international and local brands to have the mall fully let in 2024.
“With our residential development almost complete we are looking optimistic that they will provide the ready market,” said Kariuki.
In recent times, some foreign retailers have found the going in the Kenyan market tough against home grown brands like Naivas, Quickmart and Chadarana. forcing them to opt out. Only French based Carrefour has kept going.
South Africa's retail giant Massmart which operated the Game Stores exited Kenya late last year.
Massmart's exit followed previous similar exits of South African retailers Shoprite and Botswana-based Choppies, which entered the market by acquiring a majority stake in a struggling local retailer in 2016.
A study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) released in 2022 showed that Kenya outpaced Ghana, Morocco and Nigeria in the penetration of supermarkets underlining the ongoing retail chain battle among local and global players seeking a bigger footprint in the region.
It points out that despite this, there still exists a huge market underserved by the current players, with only three out of every 10 shoppers using supermarkets to shop for their supplies.