Retail giant Nakumatt is seeking to reclaim lost market share on Thika superhighway after it signed an agreement to occupy space in an upcoming mall to be known as Garden City.
The 50,000 square-metres mall will be built near East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) on a 32-acre piece of land and about 200 metres from where one of its its stores stood before the 2008 demolition to make way for the road.
The mall will be completed in two years and will make the superhighway the centre of competition among top supermarkets including Uchumi, Tuskys and South African retail giant Massmart—which has also booked space in the Sh12.6 billion Garden City.
Completion of the Sh30 billion-road has seen multi-billion shilling shopping malls spring up as real estate investors and retailers seek to tap into a growing middle class with a limited choice of leisure activities.
“We are excited about the opportunity to serve our customers once again in this area as we continue to expand our services and promote our brand across the region,” said Atul Shah, the managing director of Nakumatt.
“We welcome the development of the retail mall within Garden City as this is an area that has been massively underserved by retail services and is now set to benefit from the arrival of many renowned international and local brands,” added Mr Shah in a statement.
The Garden City mall will be bigger than Sarit Centre which measures 30,000 square-metres, Junction Mall at 26,000 square-metres and Westgate Mall (30,000 square metres).
It will house 15 catering units; a cinema hall, an exhibition hall, an events arena, and a children’s play area within a 3-acre central park.
A residential scheme, including 420 apartments and townhouses, will be developed following the launch of the retail centre, offering retail chains a steady flow of consumers backed buyers from outlying estates.
The multi-billion shilling centres emerging on the superhighway, including Mountain Mall, which is 100 metres away from Garden City, offer a concentration of well-heeled shoppers, which is acting as an attraction for the top supermarkets.
Uchumi Supermarkets look set to feel the pinch of the rivalry as new entrants increasingly look at residents on the hinterland of the superhighway, partly because its outlet is housed on a smaller building.
Uchumi sits next to where the Nakumatt store was demolished, meaning that it will face off with Tuskys, which will be housed at the Moutain Mall —opposite Garden City — and Nakumatt that will have an outlet at Thika Road Mall. Uchumi is planning a revamp of its outlet dubbed ‘Jipange’ to match the rivals.
The boom is attracting well-known brands like Massmart, fashion group Foschini and a Mauritian retailer.
“Leasing agent Knight Frank is working with top local and foreign brands to fill the 120 remaining stores in what will become East Africa’s largest retail centre,” said PE fund Actis, which owns Garden City.
“They are focused on bringing new fashion brands to the Kenyan market and discussions are ongoing with a number of South African retail groups.”