South Africa retailer Panda Mart Opens at Garden City
Global retailer Panda Mart on Wednesday opened its first retail outlet in Kenya at Garden City mall in Nairobi even as it eyes to expand to other high-traffic locations across the country.
Panda Mart is based in South Africa and operates in more than 12 countries on the continent and other markets globally.
It now joins French retail chain Carrefour as the two major retailers at Garden City.
Mr Lee Jinglin, who is a spokesman for Panda Mart, said the retailer had invested about $7 million (Sh1.14 billion) to set up the outlet.
“We are excited to be in Kenya. Kenya is the largest economy in East Africa and Central Africa and is well positioned economically. As Panda Mart, we are committed to becoming a cornerstone of retail excellence across the country, bringing together an extensive selection of products under one roof,” said Mr Lee.
He said the retailer has set its sights on opening a second outlet in Karen within the year.
Panda Mart has taken 8,956 square metres of space at the mall, driving its occupancy to 92 percent.
It stocks a wide range of products including beauty products, clothing, furniture, electronics, kitchenware and other household goods.
The retailer said it has a wholesale offering where traders can buy household goods in bulk for reselling.
Panda Mart now occupies space at the mall that was once occupied by South African retailers –Shoprite and Game – before they all run into financial troubles and closed shop.
South African retailer Massmart, which was the operator of the Game Stores, closed three stores it was running in Kenya, five in Nigeria, four in Ghana and one each in Uganda and Tanzania after incurring continued losses.
Shoprite, which is the largest supermarket chain in Africa, also closed shop in 2020 barely two years after launching operations in Kenya after failing to penetrate the local market.
Its space at Garden City was later taken over by Carrefour amid its own expansion drive.
The opening of Panda Mart comes at a time when Kenya’s retail sector is experiencing an expansion craze, with market leaders Naivas and Quickmark rapidly increasing their footprint across the country.
“Panda Mart enables us to complement and enhance the offerings of Garden City, especially household goods,” said Mi Vida Homes Chief Executive Samuel Kariuki.
Mi Vida is the developer of the mall.
Mr Kariuki says the mall is targeting to fill the 8 percent vacant space by the end of the year even as it continues to record growing foot traffic.
“Garden City is unique in that it is one of only two retail centres which are anchored within a mixed use development,” he said.
Read the story here