US kitchen, bathroom fittings giant Kohler opens Kenya showroom

Kohler is targeting home-owners seeking high-quality fittings.
Kohler is targeting home-owners seeking high-quality fittings. PHOTO/KOHLER.COM
US kitchen and plumbing fittings provider Kohler has opened a showroom in Nairobi as it seeks to tap the country’s growing appetite for high quality building products.

The Wisconsin-based firm has launched its showroom in the Ukay shopping mall in Westlands, bringing its Africa store portfolio to five following its presence in Mauritius, Uganda, South Africa and Angola.

The new venture, which comes shortly after the 2014 opening of the Kampala shop, is indicative of the company’s expansion aspirations in the region.

“East Africa is by far our most important market in the region. We want to bet big here,” said Salil Sadanandan, Kohler’s president for Middle East, Europe and Africa.

The store has been opened in partnership with East African kitchen ware distributor, Kitchens & Beyond, and will stock over 1000 Kohler products- including sinks, bathtubs, showers, faucets and toilets.

Kitchen and Beyond, which has been mandated with handling local sales and managing the shop, teams up with top world class brands such as Novamobili (wardrobes), Caeser & Arpa (tiles) and Snaidero (Italian kitchens) to supply the regional market with high quality products.

Kohler Africa is targeting home owners seeking high quality mid-range and luxurious fittings as well as institutional investors in the local hospitality industry.

The company is, for instance, currently offering its clients a digital shower system (DTV+) going for Sh1.2 million and a smart toilet that retails at Sh800,000.

Kohler Africa has already made inroads in the hospitality industry having completed its first contract of installing bathroom amenities in the newly opened Two Rivers Mall in Nairobi.

The company’s entry into the Kenyan market comes at a time when local property developers are increasingly turning to China and India for house fittings such as ceramic tiles, fitted kitchens, wooden flooring and sanitary ware in a bid to woo high-end buyers and tenants.

READ: Kenyan builders turn to China for “fashionable” house fittings

The rise in popularity of imported fittings among high end property developers has been attributed to their superior quality and their ability to lower building costs by up to 40 per cent which translates to better returns on investment.

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