Two Rivers traders earn Sh1bn during Somali cultural fete


Two Rivers Lifestyle Centre accounts manager Shurea Nkutu (centre), Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA) Director General Fazul Mahamed (left) and Centum Group CEO James Mworia during the release of the Somali Cultural Festival report titled ‘The River Between’ at Centum offices, Two Rivers, Nairobi. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

Businesses at Two Rivers recorded transactions worth Sh1 billion during the Somali cultural festival held at the venue last month, giving the vendors a much needed boost in revenue at a time when footfall in malls has fallen due to Covid-19 precautions.

The festival, which was held between July 19 and 25 and was timed to coincide with the Eid Ul Adha holiday on July 20, attracted a total of 247,104 attendees over the one week period with each spending on average Sh4,200.

Malls and hotels have traditionally relied on events to drive traffic, and have pointed to the reduced in person events due to the Covid pandemic as a major cause of the hospitality sectors poor economic performance in the past 15 months.

These are in form of festivals, expos, conferences and concerts, which also give external vendors a chance to market their wares in pop-up markets tied to the events.

“Through the week we were able to realise transactions of above Sh1 billion across permanent retail tenants and vendors selected for this particular festival…which had over 100 vendors in the fair,” said Shurea Nkutu, an accounts manager at Two Rivers Lifestyle Centre.

The organising committee of the Somali festival now expects to roll out at least three such events every year t coincide with major Muslim religious holidays. The mall, which was developed by listed form Centum, is now preparing to set up a small traders market to attract customers and give vendors a new avenue to sell their goods.

“We have been in discussions where we will be able to establish a souq (street market) within Two Rivers so that we can create a platform or avenue for traders to sell and customers to access products affordably,” said Centum chief executive officer James Mworia.

Retail developers have suffered revenue falls recently due to the double hit of Covid restrictions and the closure of large retailers such as Nakumatt and Tuskys, which left some malls without anchor tenants.

The resultant fall in footfall negatively affects other vendors who rely on the numbers attracted by the large retailers in order to make sales.