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.