Struggling Retailer Choppies Lays Off 583 Staffers


Cash-strapped Choppies Supermarket has fired 583 workers in recent months even as

According to court documents, at least 486 workers were fired in November 2019 while 97 others quit months earlier.

The Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers went to court fearing that Choppies could quit Kenya without settling dues of the laid off staff.

“486 employees were declared redundant by a notice dated November 15, 2019…51 employees were declared redundant at Nanyuki by notice dated October 31, 2019 while 46 employees exited employment for other reasons other than redundancy,” documents read in part.

Read: Choppies Supermarket Going Down 3 Years After Take Off In Kenya

The workers who left Choppies accounted for 72 percent of the retailer’s 799 unionisable workers.

The retailer last year announced plans to sell more than half of its 15 stores, after it failed to break even following stiff competition from local established retailers like Naivas ad Tuskys.

The Botswana retailer acquired Ukwala stores for Ksh1 billion in 2015 in its entry to the Eastern African market.

Last year, Choppies blamed the inability to access loans to the stock outs in the Kenya operations, leading to a loss of Ksh248.7 million in the delayed 2018 results.

Export Trading Group (ETG) recently offered the Kenyan unit of Choppies a Ksh400 million shareholders’ loans in a bailout aimed to settle a supplier debts that had restricted fresh stocks.

Business Daily reports that the local shareholders also guaranteed a Ksh250 overdraft from I&M Bank Limited in debt deals that will see it acquire additional stake in Choppies Kenya if the loans are not settled.

Recently, Choppies has been relying on loans including a Ksh300 million facility from Barclays Bank of Kenya to remain afloat.

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