Nakumatt Holdings has opened the first Clarks Footwear Concept store in sub-Saharan Africa at the Thika Road Mall.
The store, which will stock the UK shoe brands, is part of the Sh1.2 billion investment plan by the supermarket chain to diversify from basic household goods to luxury consumer goods such as footwear, cosmetics and toys.
The chain is expected to open two more outlets in the next two weeks; one at Westgate Mall in Westlands on Thursday and the other at Junction Mall on Ngong Road Nairobi.
According to Atul Shah, managing director of Nakumatt Holdings, this is the first step as they plan a regional expansion of the brands.
“To confirm the importance attached to this project, the opening of both the Clarks and Skechers stores is backed by a more than Sh480 million investment budget,” said Nakumatt Holdings regional strategy and operations director Thiagarajan Ramamurthy.
Established in 1825 by brothers James and Cyrus Clark, the Clarks brand has evolved into a leading global footwear retailer with sales in excess of £1.4 billion.
Nakumatt also plans to open Disney stores to stock the popular American entertainment label’s products such as toys, clothing, computer games and other merchandising based on its characters like Mickey Mouse.
Nakumatt is seeking to cut reliance on household goods and focus on lifestyle products to tap Kenyans’ increasing taste for trendy fashion and global brands, which offer higher margins.
The firm sealed a regional deal with Revlon last year and with L’Oreal to rollout mini departmental stores for Revlon and Maybelline products respectively.
The move by the regional retailer to open several branded shops focused on luxury goods such as fashion, accessories and gifts puts the firm in direct competition with lifestyle retailers such as Deacons and Woolworths.
According to Clarks Africa brand manager Abbas Fatepurwalla, the footwear brand will be targeting to sell more than one million pairs of shoes every year in Kenya in the next three years.
Three Skechers footwear stores are also expected to open doors in the next month.