Two more Tuskys branches shut as auctioneers strike


Two more Tuskys branches shut as auctioneers strike
Tuskys Supermarket Kisumu that was shut down by auctioneers on August 20, 2020. PHOTO | ALLAN OBIERO

In Summary

  • The most recent shut down which took shoppers in Eldoret by surprise follows a similar fiasco at its Kisumu United Mall branch on Thursday last week.
  • Senior Tuskys managers have continued to mask the retailer’s woes through the rebranding of a number of its outlets as it holds out for a new strategic investor to save its sinking ship.
  • Meanwhile, staff contracted by the retailer’s sub-contracting partner Artemis Limited have moved to the Ministry of Labour over unpaid arrears from the month of July.

Tuskys outlets along Eldoret’s town Uganda road and at Nairobi’s Komarock Mall have shut down after auctioneers struck on Tuesday.

The retailer has been drawn into a rent row with its landlords following months of unpaid arrears.

The most recent shut down which took shoppers in Eldoret by surprise follows a similar fiasco at its Kisumu United Mall branch on Thursday last week.

The Kisumu branch was however reopened later on Friday following a partly offset of the rent arrears by management.

Senior Tuskys managers have continued to mask the retailer’s woes through the rebranding of a number of its outlets as it holds out for a new strategic investor to save its sinking ship.

The Eldoret branch has for instance masked stocks out for weeks now with the supply of goods being severed in other outlets including Embakasi’s Southfield Mall.

The leadership of the retailer has meanwhile continued to woo new suppliers to its trading platform which is intended at budding prompt payments.

Tuskys has so far reported the migration of 186 suppliers to the platform. However not all suppliers have been on board with the plan.

According to sources who spoke to Citizen Digital, large players such as Bidco Africa are yet to resume supplying Tuskys shelves by pinning such action on the payment of a quota of its outstanding debt to the manufacturer.

Staff dues

Meanwhile, staff contracted by the retailer’s sub-contracting partner Artemis Limited have moved to the Ministry of Labour over unpaid arrears from the month of July.

Part of staff members who spoke anonymously to Citizen Digital expressed frustrations by management and discrimination from they lack in union representation.

The retailer had previously been locked into a pay dispute with its union staff over planned pay cuts as the supermarket fell into a cash-crunch earlier this year.

Strategic Investor?

The retailer had been hoping to tap a strategic investor to save its sinking ship which has left it indebted to the tune of Ksh.6.2 billion a per its trade disclosures.

On Tuesday however, the retailer disclosed it had signed terms of reference with a Mauritius-based fund for the provision of a Ksh.2 billion debt facility.

“The Tusker Mattresses Ltd Board of Directors is pleased to confirm that we have signed terms of agreement with a Mauritius based fund for the provision of a financing facility amounting to just over KES 2.0 billion subject to fulfilling transaction condition precedents. This funding will help alleviate our current capital constraints impacted by COVID-19 and further reposition the business for increasing stakeholders’ value,” the retailer said in a statement.

Tuskys shareholders had previously approved the sale of a majority stake to an investor who would steady the troubled ship.

The retailer did not disclose the switch of stance from an equity to a debt investment.

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Story By Kepha Muiruri
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