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Uchumi Supermarkets Plans to Open 3 New Uganda Outlets

Kenya based Uchumi Supermarkets plans to open three new outlets in Uganda to tap a fast-growing economy that has been underserved by retail chains, its chief executive said.

"In Uganda we are expecting to have three more (stores). One of them is expected to open in about three weeks and that is a hyper (market) on the busy Kampala-Entebbe road," Jonathan Ciano told Reuters.

Another store would be opened in the western part of Kampala, which is not served by the large chains, he added.

The chain already operates two large stores in Kampala and a third one in the northern town of Gulu.

Retail on the African continent has attracted a lot of interest in recent years from investors who are keen to play the continent's economic growth story, which typically drives consumption.

"Uganda has been a very underutilised market. Kenyan competitors are running there now but I don't think that is the right way. You have to be cautious in ensuring you have the right site," Ciano said.

Uchumi shares relisted on the Nairobi bourse in 2011 at 15.9 shillings after a five-year trading suspension due to insolvency. They initially tumbled, but have since recovered and are currently the top performers on the bourse this year. At 0900 GMT, the stock was down 1.3 percent at 16 shillings.

The company, which also operates in Tanzania, said around the time of its relisting that it expected to increase its market value by 50-100 percent within two years thanks to expansion in the region.

Uchumi had sales of 10.84 billion shillings in the year ended June 2011.


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