NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
A faster growth of Kenya’s real estate sector,
which has seen property developers construct malls across major
towns in the East African nation, has helped boost the retail
In the capital Nairobi, the malls have been
constructed outside the central business and in every suburb, with
major retail outlets being the anchor tenants.
Some of the shopping malls that have been built in the last few
years are Maasai Mall in Rongai, Signature Mall in Mlolongo, Highway
Mall in Upper Hill, Two Rivers Mall in Kiambu, Greenspan, Shujaa and
K malls on the east of Nairobi, T-Mall in Nairobi West, Garden City
and Thika Road malls along Thika Superhighway, among many others.
Outside Nairobi, the big malls include Bufallo in Naivasha some
100km from the capital, Westside Mall in Nakuru, Lake Basin and West
End malls in Kisumu and in Mombasa, there is City Mall, among
All the malls have been built in the last five years or so and
each hosts a supermarket as the anchor tenant and dozens of other
businesses that include fast-food restaurants, book stores,
boutiques, coffee shops, mobile money and phone shops and high-end
Analysts noted that the building of the facilities has given a
huge boost to the retail sector, enabling investors to have places
to situate their businesses.
Some of the major supermarkets gobbling up space in the malls
include Tuskys, Naivas, Choppies, Game and initially Uchumi and
Nakumatt before they suffered financial distress.
Tuskys, now the leading retail chain, as at the end of 2017 had
58 branches, Nakumatt 45, Naivas 39 and Uchumi 25 and Choppies 10.
"If it was not for the development of the malls, some of the
supermarkets would not be having the numerous branches they have.
"They have spread because they have found adequate space in
places they want to invest," Antony Kuyo, a consultant with Avent
Properties in Nairobi, said Monday.
Kuyo observed that while there has been a slowdown in the uptake
of space in the malls leading to a glut, the positive side of the
mall development is that it has had great impact on the retail
"In some of those malls, you find new supermarkets that are not
"This shows expansion of the retail sector.
"A good example is the Souk supermarket at Nextgen Mall along
Mombasa Road," he said.
Cytonn, a Nairobi based investment firm, noted that real estate
investments, notably malls and mixed-use development where
residential houses are built next to the malls, have greatly driven
the expansion of the Kenyan retail sector.
"Nairobi’s available retail space grew by 42 percent, from 3.9
million square feet of space in 2016 to 5.6 million square feet in
"The mall operators mainly prefer the larger chains as anchor
tenants, reasoning that they would attract more foot traffic
boosting growth of retail sector," said Cytonn in a note Monday.
However, besides real estate development, other factors
contributing to the faster growth of the retail sector, according to
Cytonn are changing consumer tastes and preferences, globalization
and growth in incomes boosting spending.
Kenya’s wholesale and retail trade is the fifth largest
contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the third
largest contributor to private sector employment, according to the
government agency, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
In 2016, wholesale and retail trade employed some 238,500 Kenyans
and accounted for 8.4 percent of Kenya’s GDP.
Some 30 percent of the East African nation’s citizens shop in
formal retail establishments, according to Nielsen, a leading global
information and measurement company, compared to 4 percent in Ghana.