New discount supermarket chain opens its doors to Kenyan shoppers

By our African Marketing Confederation News Team | 2024

Jaza discount stores founded by well-known local industry executive to offer ‘affordable pricing’ in residential neighbourhoods.

One of Kenya’s top retail executives, Willy Kimani, has struck out on his own and launched a new discount supermarket chain named Jaza.


The Jaza chain was first announced in November last year and the first outlet opened in early December in the Nairobi residential area of Buruburu Estate. Subsequent stores have opened in Kayole Estate, Githurai 44, Gachie, and Chokaa Embakasi. More will follow.

Photo Credit: Jaza. LinkedIn

Jaza’s strategy is to target the city’s outlying suburbs, which are less well served by Kenya’s big supermarket chains.


The name Jaza means ‘fill up’ in Swahili and it is being positioned as a discount retailer offering products such as dry foods, personal care items, essential household goods, and beverages.


“We are moving away from the supermarkets in shopping malls and offering convenience while serving residential areas,” Kimani said at the time of the first Jaza supermarket opening.


Aim is to offer everyday affordable pricing


“I saw an opportunity in the general trade market and came up with a concept set to offer consumers everyday affordable pricing considering the current macro-economic situation.”


Kenyan consumers, like many in Africa and elsewhere, have been struggling with high inflation, which has created an affordability crisis as salaries fail to keep up with the cost of living.


“Kenya’s economy has struggled in 2023 under the weight of debt, causing issues with access to [foreign exchange] and the sharp depreciation of the shilling,” comments Trendtype, the London-based emerging markets consultancy.


“The growth and premiumisation of the modern trade – driven by Carrefour, Naivas and Chandarana – as well as the economic pressures, has opened up a gap for smaller format stores focusing on a more basic range, and with a clear target audience of less well-off consumers.”


Kimani is the former chief commercial officer of Naivas and was also at one time the COO of the now-defunct Uchumi supermarket chain. He has also been with Tuskys and Chap Chap.

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