Supermarket embarks on expansion drive

Uchumi Supermarkets Limited (Tanzania) plans to expand its business countrywide and reach potential customers to where they are.

Uchumi Group Chief Executive Officer, Jonathan Ciano, told the company’s business partners in Dar es Salaam over the weekend that the firm will soon open new shops in Dar es Salaam and upcountry regions.

The retail firm, which currently operates from Quality Centre along Nyerere road, plans to expand to Mbagala, Tabata, Masaki, Mikocheni, Mbezi Africana and City Centre in Dar es Salaam. It also envisages going to Tanga, Dodoma and Mwanza regions.

Dr Ciano, speaking at Uchumi Tanzania’s second anniversary celebrations in the city, said the company was determined to groom more entrepreneurs and offer reliable market for Tanzanian farmers, manufacturers and service providers.

“We are here to work with Tanzanians…we don’t have an import licence because we buy exclusively from local suppliers,” Dr Ciano told the firm’s business partners, suppliers, customers and employees who turned up for the second anniversary dinner.

A Member of Parliament for East African Legislative Assembly, Mr Adam Kimbisa challenged businesses in East Africa to operate regionally to tap the huge business opportunities that the 130 million person market offers.

“We should stop thinking of our individual countries,” Mr Kimbisa said, warning employees at the supermarket to work hard and with integrity to enable the business to expand. “Uchumi is doing a fantastic job through creation of potential tax payers and employers for the country.”

Uchumi, which is on the process of cross-listing on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange to provide Tanzanians with an opportunity to own the fast growing market chain, has an internal business policy of sourcing its supplies from local suppliers.

Uchumi Supermarkets Country Manager Chris Lenana said the business has grown fast, thanks to good business environment in the country. He, however, decried difficulties in getting supplies, inviting enterprising Tanzanians, the youth in particular, to mint money out of the opportunity that the market chain has created.

“We want to trade with Tanzanians…this is the business opportunity you have to explore,” Mr Lenana told the audience, mostly suppliers to the supermarkets. The company that employees 200 people, has a list of 300 suppliers, all Tanzanians whom it pays an average of 300m/- weekly or 1.2bn/- monthly.

“We envisage becoming Tanzania’s pioneer of retail customer service to the benefits of all consumers as well as maintaining high standards in the quality of goods and services in our shops,” assured Mr Lenana.

Uchumi has in its two years of business strived to avoid stocking imported foodstuffs and other foreign products that are locally available, leading to improved quality of processed products by local companies. Fresh juices, fruit squashes, breakfast cereals, processed teas and coffee are but few of the local products that are now sold en masse in the outlet.
Source: The Daily News, reported from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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