Our focus is on the long term, says Carrefour

Carrefour has so far opened with one store on Oasis Mall. FILE PHOTO

Kampala- French retailer, Carrefour Supermarket has said it has a business plan that should guarantee it a return on investment in the next 10 to 20 years.

While addressing concerns raised by the retail giant’s entry into Uganda, a market in which at least two regional retail stores have collapsed, Mr Frank Moreau, Carrefour country manager for Uganda and Kenya, said the company is not focusing on the short term.

“One of the key elements to be present here is to be sustainable, it does not mean we are going to get on the ground soon, but we have a business model on the middle term and long term to be sure that what we are going to invest in will have a return within 10 to 20 years.”

Carrefour Supermarket, operated by United Arab Emirates based company, Majid Al Futtaim in over 30 markets in Africa, Middle East and Asia now occupies former Nakumatt store at Oasis mall, covering over 2,800 square meters.

The store, which marks the 306th supermarket in the Carrefour portfolio in the wider region is one of two currently acquired stores by the French giant in Uganda, for a $4m (Shs14.6b) investment.

Three more are expected in the next three years with a planned investment of $7.5m.
The supermarket makes its debut shortly after regional chain supermarkets Uchumi and Nakumatt folded their operations in 2015 and 2017, respectively.

The collapse of the Kenyan supermarket chains, however, has not scared Carrefour, which said it undertook due diligence and feasibility studies to understand the market.

“We are very specific, we do due diligence, feasibility studies in terms of human capital. What leads to the collapse most times is the financial part, which is one of the key elements here, to be sustainable,” he said emphasising the retailer is not here for the short term.

Local suppliers
Carrefour says it will support local suppliers and already 260 are supplying 99 per cent of its 20,000 products.
At least, according to Carrefour, 180 Ugandan employees have already been recruited and trained to operate in the store of which 130 directly employed and 60 contractors or merchandisers plus 12 expatriates.
Committing government’s support to the retail giant, Amelia Kyambadde, Trade minister, said entrance of the supermarket chain is indicative of Uganda’s growing economy.