Ukwala asks customers to redeem loyalty points

Ukwala Supermarket has asked its customers to redeem their loyalty points and pick uncollected goods by the end of the year or risk losing them.

The notice is part of the retailer’s move to clear with creditors ahead of its takeover by Botswana-based Choppies Supermarket after a Sh1 billion buyout.

Other items to be claimed by customers by December 31 are deposits, refunds, gift vouchers and goods returned for repairs.

“The current schemes will end on December 31, 2015 and will not be honoured after the date,” Ukwala said in the notice.

The loyalty points on the Zawadi Card can be redeemed at any of the retailer’s branches.

The retail chain is expected to start a new loyalty programme under the new owners in a competitive market where the incentive has become a major tool in attracting repeat customers.

Refund receipts are to be claimed at the branch where the transaction took while goods returned for repairs should be collected at the branch of purchase.

These are part of settlements with creditors as Ukwala prepares to hand over its 10 outlets to Choppies following regulatory approval from the Competition Authority of Kenya.

There was uncertainty regarding the transfer of ownership after the Kenya Union of Commercial, Food and Allied Workers (Kucfaw) asked Ukwala to conclude a new pay deal before it is acquired.

According to the union, the matter is still in discussion but Ukwala has said Choppies will adapt a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

The union had written to Ukwala owners asking them not to transfer the business to Choppies until they have signed a fresh CBA.

READ: Choppies gets nod to buy 10 Ukwala stores for Sh1bn

The workers’ body also asked Ukwala to commit to transferring all the unionisable workers to Choppies with their “current positions, grades and responsibilities.”

In January, Ukwala allowed its 777 employees to join Kucfaw and was already in talks for a new salary deal before Choppies’ bid to acquire the supermarket chain.

In June, Choppies announced it had sealed a deal to buy the 10 Ukwala stores, with half of them located in Kisumu, three in Nairobi and a single outlet in Nakuru.

The supermarket will retain the brand and continue focusing on the lower to middle-income, high frequency and small-basket size daily shoppers.
It will also set up additional stores in high traffic areas such as matatu stages.

Choppies, which is listed in the Botswana and Johannesburg stock exchanges, becomes the first foreign supermarket to successfully enter Kenya through an acquisition.

The chain retail outlet has 129 outlets spread in Botswana (73), South Africa (36) and Zimbabwe (20).

Plans are under way to expand to Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia and Mozambique.