Over the past few years Nairobi has witnessed a significant influx in malls space. With many international brands looking to penetrate the Kenyan market developers and investors sought to capitalize on this opportunity by building new malls across Nairobi. This has left older players rushing to improve their premises in a bid to attract both consumers and international retailers. Sarit Center and Village Market, some of the first major malls in Nairobi were caught up in this race as well. Last year (2017), Village Market undertook a major Kshs. 8 Billion expansion projects. Once completed, phase two will have 215 business room hotels with a conference center, 100 shops and 1000 car parking slots. Additionally, the mall invested heavily in entertainment choosing to have a 14.000 square foot indoor playground for kids, a trampoline park, laser tag area, 10 pin bowling and a 30,000 square feet gym.
Within the same period, Sarit Center pumped Kshs. 4 Billion into its expansion project. The mall received expansion approval from the government last year to build a new mall adjacent to the current one. According to Mr. Nitin Shah the mall management are trying to look for a way that will keep their visitors around after 6 pm and aim to do this by setting up variety of specialty restaurants, entertainment options and locking down international retailers.
Data Fintech’s Nairobi Mall’s report shows, the average Kenyan consumer spends more time and money on entertainment, restaurants and fashion stores in malls. The latest comparison report compares Village Market and Sarit Center. Village market has a higher customer experience index of 12.66 points as compared to Sarit Center’s 8.83 points. Simply put, Village Market offers a better experience to consumers and thus a higher potential customer base for its tenants.Both malls have more restaurant than any other store type with Village market having 43 restaurants as compared to Sarit Centre’s 32. According to the report, Sarit Center lags in all service and product offerings apart from parking spaces.