By Mourine Ojambo
The Real Estate and Property firm, Myspace Properties, has announced that it will be unveiling modern mini-malls to meet the growing demand from retailers and vendors. According to the statement sent to the newsroom, the real estate firm said that owing to increasing large format retail store saturation levels in major towns and skyrocketing population that are living in new residential areas at lengthy commuting distances from larger retail centres, mini-malls will offer suitability purchase. Pundits also argue that this strategy is because of the shrinking spacious land in urban centres amid growing population.
Sitting on just two floors, these convenience retail centres will be located in prime high density and traffic roads with close proximity to residential populations. The company says that these modern strip malls will act as a one stop shop that is suited to attract and meet customers’ social, physical and psychological needs. Presently, Kenya has traditional malls in high end areas housing mostly high end business owners and charging exorbitant prices per square feet making many traders shy away from them. The real estate firm is set to offer alternative solutions to businesses by leasing the spaces out at a half price.
Speaking in Mombasa, the CEO Myspace Properties, Mwenda Thuranira said, “This is part of our strategy to come up with properties that will accommodate various clients and bring markets closer to homes. These mini-malls will house major supermarket brands like our client Naivas which will serve as the main anchor tenant, occupying the bigger space on ground floor. Other amenities that don’t require large spaces such mobile service provider, food retails, clinics, banks, clothing lines will occupy the top half of the building. They will also accommodate entrepreneurs that are not able to pay swelling rents in the traditional malls.”
A recent survey shows that the country has fallen five positions in international retail market performance ranking as a hard-hitting business environment continues to upset retail chains leading to exits of some of major brands. According to the study most Kenyans prefer buying goods next to their homes. Many retailers such as Turkeys’ supermarket that was based in Libra House along Mombasa Road had to shift to Southfield Mall on the North Airport Road to attract customers from populous Mukuru Kwa Njenga, Cabanas area, Imara Daima and Pipeline Estate unlike where it was initially based where it was only benefiting from customers from the nearby establishments.
Demographic drifts propose that convenience-based demand for smaller retailer formats is on high rise. In addition to urban stretch, majority of urban residents have reduced commuting to supermarkets due to long hours spend on the roads thanks to the traffic. Strip-malls also have a tendency to be affixed by strong retail sectors, such as pharmacies and banks, which normally fight back economic depressions better than high end stores found in larger malls. It is also worth noting that they can be erected significantly faster and at much lower cost than the traditional shopping mall, an imperative aspect in a country where construction and infrastructure costs are swiftly rising steeply and drawn-out development time can eat into investment returns.
“This venture comes at the right time when Kenya as a country has started to embrace online shopping with the growing population. It is vital to understand that online shopping continues to embed itself in the commercial business and this stands as one of the reason why large malls continue to stay vacant over the years,” said Mwenda.
“For over 10 years now, we have worked with major brands in the market such as Naivas, KCB Bank, CBK, NCBA, HFCK, DT Dobie, Nissan, Ideal Ceramics, Tile & Carpet, Safaricom KPLC among others, we have been able to understand what their niche is and their basic and deeper needs in the market,” he added.
Naivas Supermarket’s Commercial Director, Willy Kimani, said “this is an idea whose time has come and it is in line with our strategic plan to move closer to the consumers. These amenities will enhance our accessibility to markets we are eyeing as we even expand to other places.”
“We believe that once we roll out the first phase in Nairobi, we will be able to attract other major brands motivating us to secure more prime plots and expand rapidly to meet the demand. We already have goodwill from a number of investors who will be pumping in at least KES. 20 billion for the start. As we speak we have finances to get us kick started however we are still scouting for more land in strategic locations. We are engaging some landowners but we are still looking for more that can also accommodate other facilities such as petrol stations,” said Mwenda Thuranira.
According to the preliminary results of Kenya’s census, major urban centres population has increased creating many opportunities for the strip-malls. Driven by Kenya’s continuing economic expansion and high population, retail demand has grown sharply. According to a research released by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics and CEIC data, Kenya’s Wholesale and Retail Trade data was reported at 199,283.000 KES MN in Sep 2019.
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MYSPACE PROPERTIES LIMITED
Myspace Properties Limited is a Real Estate and Property firm that offers a unique and unprecedented value proposition covering all the core skills and requirements fundamental to the success of a real estate venture. It is also among the firms incubated in Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) Ibuka programme. Myspace first appeared in the KPMG Top 100 rankings in 2018 and then 2019 became the top Real Estate firm in the list. Myspace appreciates the industry players for acknowledging our objectives and efforts to growing and becoming influencers within the Real Estate Industry.