SA’s Massmart opens Sh500m building materials mart in Karen

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SA’s Massmart opens Sh500m building materials mart in Karen

Entrance of a “Builders Warehouse” store in Johannesburg. AFP PHOTO 

South African retail giant Massmart has increased its footprint in Kenya with the opening of a new Sh500 million building material outlet at the Waterfront Mall in Karen.

The outlet dubbed Builders Warehouse opened its first store Thursday and its product range will cover building materials and home improvement requirements for flooring, paint, sanitary ware, kitchens, lighting, electrical, appliances among others.

Services such as paint tinting and mixing, glass cutting, kitchen design, pool water analysis and others will be available.

Massmart, majority owned by American super chain Walmart, made its debut in Kenya with Game Stores, to cash in on the growing demand for retail outlets in the country.

Builders Warehouse is taking an all-under-one-roof approach to capture contractors in the large-scale construction industry as well and individuals who are keen on Do It Yourself, a growing trend among Kenyan middle class.

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The store seems to be an attempt to bring the formal retail experience to the construction sector, which is dominated by small shops and manufacturers selling directly to large customers. The opening of the outlet comes at a time the construction market is expected to be on a decline.

In its first half 2020 report, real estate firm Knight Frank says they “expect a decline in the second half of 2020 due to the pandemic that has resulted in restricted movement, disruptions of business operations and developers opting to postpone the construction of real estate projects.”

When Massmart announced plans of opening the Builders stores in Kenya two years ago, the country was experiencing a construction boom. It has more than 100 stores under the Builders tag in South Africa and about 10 outside the country. The Kenyan unit is the first in East Africa.

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