Looking for something special
Competing for a different clientele in the city is The Hub Karen, which is a $45.8m investment coming up in the affluent suburb of Nairobi’s Karen. Azalea Holdings, which is a local investment firm, have set aside some 20 acres of land for this mall. The first phase is estimated to be 30,000 square metres. The Hub Karen will be directly competing with Galleria Mall, which is also in Karen but smaller at 12 acres.
All these new malls coming up are trying to add some unique features to their premises in the hope of luring more customers to their establishments. A lake for fishing, a jogging track, gym, orchid garden, cinema and an amphitheatre are some of the features that The Hub Karen intends to offer.
What is behind this rush into malls? Realtors say that returns on retailing space are higher and quicker compared to industrial or office space investment. In addition, according to the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) 2011 survey, some 6.5m of Kenya’s 40m population can be classified as having attained middle-class status.
The rise of high-net-worth individuals in Kenya is also expected to increase in the coming years. Consulting firm CapGemini’s World Wealth Report predicts that the current 5,000 dollar millionaires in Kenya will rise by 62% to reach 8,000 by 2020. The rise of the middle class and high-net-worth individuals has vastly increased consumer spending and demand for luxury goods. This has ushered in global fashion brands such as British shoe retailer Clarks, Massimo Duti and Zara clothing labels among others.
High internet penetration courtesy of mobile phone usage, social media, increased travel and the long reach of pay-TV channels have increased awareness of what is available and desirable. The cosmopolitan environment of the country and the large presence of diplomats and other expatriates working for the UN and various international non-governmental agencies and corporations is also a factor in the shopping mall boom. Last year’s terror attack is rapidly becoming little more than an anguished memory and seems to have dented the mania for malls not a jot.