By Nicholas Nduati
Demand for quality retail space in Kenya has risen steadily in the recent past evidenced by the growing number of shopping malls springing up in Nairobi.
According to the latest Cytonn Retail Space Report 2016, the demand is largely being driven by the rise of the middle class who have increased purchasing power and desire for sophisticated lifestyles, as well as a good transport network, which has opened up the Nairobi Metropolitan area for development
The report noted that the retail market is attractive for investment, especially in regional malls, which are recording high yields of up to 11.7% and occupancy levels of 94% led by Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru counties after Nairobi.
The best markets for investing in retail sector according to the report are Kilimani and Karen in Nairobi and Mombasa. However, the Mt Kenya region comprising of Meru, Embu, Nanyuki and Nyeri, now have the largest development pipeline.
The growth of the middle class has also witnessed a rise in online shopping sites with OLX for instance having approximately 2 million views monthly and Jumia with over 2,000 views daily.
Nairobi currently has mall space supply of approximately 3.9 million square feet making it the largest retail centre in Sub-Saharan Africa after South Africa.