Africa

Tanzania protest over 'Uchumi supermarket closures'

Protesting staff and suppliers of one of East Africa's leading retailers, Uchumi supermarket in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Image caption Jobs are likely to be lost as a result of store closures in

Angry staff and suppliers from one of East Africa's leading retailers, Uchumi Supermarkets, have forced the closure of one of its stores in Tanzania.

More than 300 people barricaded the store in Dar es Salaam amid fears they would not get paid.

There have been reports that the chain, which is based in neighbouring Kenya, is closing some of its shops.

Financial woes have already forced Uchumi to recently shut some of its outlets in Uganda.

The struggling retailer has said talks are under way to resolve the dispute.

The BBC's Alice Muthengi in Dar es Salaam says the protesters were told to go home and return on Wednesday, when it is hoped a resolution will be found.

Uchumi has several stores in Tanzania but it is not clear how many will be affected.

On Monday, Ugandan media reported that court bailiffs, acting on behalf of some suppliers, raided some of Uchumi's stores in the capital, Kampala, and seized property over the failure to settle its bills.

The retailer has suffered some huge loses in the last two years because of accusations of mismanagement, says Nairobi-based financial analyst Aly-Khan Satchu.

"It has been a challenging period for them because they found it difficult to compete in places away from Kenya - their primary market," he told the BBC.

These closures are part of the measures being introduced by newly appointed Chief Executive Julius Kipng'etich to revive the struggling retailer, he said.

The troubled chain has already sold some of its lucrative assets in Kenya to raise money as its struggles to get finance from banks.

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