Kenyans will celebrate Christmas spoiled for choice of where to go for shopping as the number of malls in the east African nation rises two-fold in a decade.
In the capital Nairobi, several malls have been opened in the past few months as store owners and mall developers seek to cash in on a Christmas boom.
Kitengela Mall and Signature Mall on the south of Nairobi and Waterfront Mall in upmarket Karen are some of the shopping complexes that have been opened in the last month.
The malls add to numerous others in the capital and across the nation.
There are currently 28 malls within Nairobi and 12 others in neighbouring counties, with the number in the capital having grown from about 10 in a decade, which initially were concentrated in high-end neighborhoods.
While some of the shops at the malls are offering Christmas bargains collectively, others are doing it individually, especially supermarkets.
“I don’t know where to shop this Christmas because I am spoiled for choice. I live near three malls and all are offering bargains,” said journalist Christine Mutuku on Wednesday.
Mutuku lives in Mlolongo, south of Nairobi. A fourth mall coming up in her neighborhood.
“I can go to Gateway Mall or Signature Mall or Kitengela Mall. These are exciting times. I will shop at the weekend and will only go for a mall where I will get good prices,” she said.
Things are not any different for auditor Beatrice Ngari, who lives in Komarock, east of Nairobi, and can shop at Greenspan Mall, Shujaa Mall or Komarock Mall.
“All these malls are a short distance from my home. I am not even in a hurry to buy anything because of the many options,” Ngari said.
For residents living in residential areas off Thika superhighway, they have dozens of malls to choose from, including Thika Road Mall, Two Rivers Mall and Garden City Mall.
Similarly, those living in Karen and the neighboring regions have at least five malls to choose from, namely Galleria, The Hub, Karen Crossroads, Waterfront and Maasai.
Some of the Christmas deals the malls and supermarkets are offering include shoppers winning cars, electronic items and shopping vouchers. Others have cut prices by up to 30 percent.
Cytonn, a Nairobi-based investment firm, attributes the rise in malls to growth of the middle class, which has increased peoples’ purchasing power as well as broadened tastes and preferences for different goods and services.
The number of foreign supermarkets taking space at the malls as anchor tenants have also surged, another reason that has fanned mall development.
“The entry of foreign players has boosted retail space uptake and thus enhances investor returns,” said Cytonn.
Foreign retail outlets in Kenya include Choppies, Game, Carrefour and ShopRite.
South African retail giant ShopRite is the latest entrant in the business, taking up space in three malls in the capital.
Choppies, Zimbabwe-based, is the largest foreign-owned retailer, having 12 stores and is set to open more across Kenya.
Foreign-owned outlets are also offering Christmas bargains to Kenyans, stiffening competition.
Henry Wandera, an economics lecturer in Nairobi, noted that consumers are the biggest beneficiaries of the high number of malls.
“These facilities have not only brought services closer to the people, but competition amongst themselves is handing consumers better prices this Christmas,” he said. Enditem