Local retail industry is bullish and expects to shrug off the turbulence experienced over the last year. The industry was hit by low consumer spending and an eroded confidence in the industry from suppliers due to high debt levels that were increasingly becoming doubtful.
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The Retail Trade Association of Kenya (RETRAK) said it expects the industry to recover from 2017, which it termed as the worst year for retail. The lobby for retailers said there are billions of investments lined by both local and international retailers that are looking to formalise the largely informal local retail space. “From our assessment, the Year 2017 was probably the most difficult for the sector and it is hoped that both the political and economic climate in 2018 will allow for consumer demand and shopping patterns to return to normal levels. Overall, we estimate that billions of shillings were lost due to trading disruptions during the electoral cycle and customer apprehension,” said Wambui Mbarire chief executive officer Retrak. “Looking ahead, we remain optimistic that the year 2018 will provide a good recovery path for the local retail sector.” She added that in December and January, local retailers had invest Sh1.2 billion in opening up new branches, with the investments expected to pick up in the course of the year.
According to Retrak, local retailers control 98.1 per cent of the formal retail space, with the foreign firms, which are increasingly growing their operations, at 1.79 per cent.
Source: The Standard