Company History

Company History

Deacons (East Africa) PLC (previously Deacons Kenya Limited) was incorporated in Kenya, as a private limited liability company under the Companies Act on 20th March 1973 (with registration number C11537). It was then converted to a public company on 26th October.

Deacons’ principal business is to operate retail establishments including franchise and department stores selling ladies, men’s and children’s clothing, footwear, accessories, toiletries, gifts, home-furnishings, cosmetics and sporting goods amongst other items in East Africa.

Deacons started its operations in 1958 as a Marks & Spencer franchisee. The business was incorporated into the Company in 1973 and traded successfully under this franchise until 1980. Due to import restrictions, this franchise was relinquished in 1980, and the Company shifted to local products by working with local industry to supply its stores.

With the liberalisation of the economy in the 1990’s, Deacons started to redevelop its relationships with international brands and in 1994, a distribution agreement was reached with Woolworths of South Africa, and a full franchise signed in 2002. In 1999, Deacons acquired the Truworths franchise. A further franchise agreement was entered with the Truworths Group for their Identity brand in 2006. In 2007, franchise agreements were secured with Mr Price Home and Clothing, also from South Africa.

In order to diversify its product offerings, Deacons ventured into developing its own brands. This includes 4U2, selling discounted internationally branded fashion and the Angelo brand launched in 2008, selling shoes, bags and accessories. The Company acquired the rights to retail and distribute the Adidas sporting brand in 2010. As part of the strategy to build a division in the sporting and wellness segments of the market, Deacons entered into an exclusive distribution agreement with the master franchisee who holds the franchise for Life Fitness, a well-known brand for gym equipment, covering the East Africa region. Its first showroom opened in late 2010 at the Sarit Centre. These two brands are sourced out of Dubai and the United States respectively.

In December 2011, Deacons Rwanda Limited opened two stores under the franchise arrangement of Mr. Price Fashion and Home. In the same year, Deacons introduced the Babyshop brand from the Dubai based Landmark Group to fill the gap on product provision for children aged 0 – 8years.

In 2013, the Company launched the Bossini brand to replace the underperforming Identity brand and concluded the Joint Venture transaction with Woolworths Mauritius.

Entry into Uganda started in 2009 with the Mr Price brand. In 2015, two additional stores were opened at the Acacia Mall, Kampala – Mr Price and Mr Price home combo store and a Bossini store.

The Company plans to launch 4 stores at the soon to be largest mall in Sub Saharan Africa (Two Rivers Mall) in Nairobi later this year. In addition, the Company continues with its regional growth strategy and will be opening two stores at the ultra-modern Kigali Heights Mall, Rwanda later this year.

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  1. 1958

    Deacons starts its operations as a Marks & Spencer franchise.

  2. 1994

    Signing of a distribution agreement with Woolworths.

  3. 1999

    Signing of a Franchise agreement with Woolworths.

  4. 2003

    Launch of the first fully owned Deacons brand – 4U2.

  5. 2006

    Private placement and rights issue of Ksh. 144.8M to finance refurbishment, expansion of store network and launch of new brands.

  6. 2007

    Launch of the Mr Price and Mr Price Home brands in Kenya.

    Commencement of operations in Tanzania.

  7. 2008

    Launch of the Second Deacons owned brand – Angelo.

  8. 2009

    Commencement of operations in Uganda with the Mr Price brand.

  9. 2010

    Public offer that raised KSH 800M.

    Company shares start trading OTC.

    Store footprint - 23 stores.

  10. 2011

    Deacons commences operations in Rwanda and launches Babyshop in Kenya.

  11. 2012

    Deacons signs a joint venture agreement with Woolworths.

    Store footprint – 20 stores.

  12. 2013

    Launch of the Bossini brand in Kenya.

    Store footprint – 25 stores.

  13. 2015

    Completion of exit from Woolworths.

    Launch of 2 new stores in Uganda.

    Store footprint – 31 stores.

  14. 2016

    Deacons lists on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

    Launch of 2 stores at the Kigali Heights Mall in Rwanda.

    Launch of 4 stores at the Two Rivers Mall.

    Launch of Reebok (Under the Adidas Franchise)

    Launch of 2 stores at the Hub.

    Store footprint – 38 stores by the end of the year.