As you walk into the Nakumatt supermarket at Kenya’s Junction mall on Ngong road, pride of place on the immediate left is occupied by a recently opened Clarks store and, alongside it, Skechers. One is classically English and the other lifestyle-defined American, but the difference ends there.
The presence of the two premium shoe brands, along with the plethora of high-end clothing and shoe stores that line the avenues of this and other Kenyan malls, indicates an increasing appetite for international labels in the local market.
A glance down one of the corridors at Junction shows back-lit signs for a multitude of brands that target the middle and upper class consumer. The South African brands of Truworths, Mr Price, Angelo and Woolworths; North American brand Levi’s; Italian suits from Renzo Rinaldi; Turkish fashion giant Sarar; and the all-encompassing [email protected] Daddy which carries Clarks, Hush Puppies, Democrata, Merrell, Giovanni Conti, Mario Fagni and Via Uno.
But Junction isn’t the only mall in Kenya to boast such a prestigious selection. A similar profile exists at Galleria near Langata, another middle-class suburb, which is home to brands that have established household-name status after entering the market less than seven years ago. Galleria also houses Converse All Star and Burlington Wearhouse with its J Reneé and Rioni brands.
The new Thika Road Mall which caters to a satellite town northeast of the city centre, also has stores for Clarks, Hush Puppies, Nike, Skechers and Woolworths. And here, the N3Milles store replicates the multi-brand concept of [email protected] by carrying women’s clothing from London Style, London Times, Maggy London, Dana Kay, Danny & Nicole, Coldwater Creek, Tahari, Kasper and Studio.