Challenges Facing Apparel Traders in Nairobi, Kenya, and Strategies for Flourishing in a Liberalized Market
Mugenda, Olive M.
Mburugu, K. G.
Imo, B. E.
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The lack of enabling policies that would have ensured fair trade amongst various stakeholders of contrasting interests in Kenya became obvious when market liberalization was introduced in the 1990s. It created increased importation of cheap textiles and apparel products to the detriment of the local industry. Market liberalization became a common phenomena in developing countries in the 1990s, prompting the need for their documented assessment, hence this study. Data were collected from a random sample of 90 apparel traders drawn from three market centers in Nairobi according to the types of apparel they sold (new imported, second-hand, locally produced, and custom-tailored apparel). Lack of customers and stiff competition were the major challenges facing over 55% of the apparel traders. Most traders provided high quality merchandise as the main strategy to increase purchase of apparel. Chi-square analysis showed that the trader’s age, employment position/designation, and source of fabric/clothing were the socioeconomic characteristics that significantly influenced the type of apparel sold. Therefore, the study recommends that other apparel traders adopt these factors, to increase their competitive edge and enhance growth of the local industry.