Lagos could accommodate at least 20 shopping malls, says property developer

The construction of shopping malls in Nigeria and the country’s retail potential is a hot topic, as highlighted by discussions at last month’s Africa Property Investment Summit in Johannesburg.

South African food retailer Shoprite Holdings, which has partnered with different property development companies to take the anchor position in a number of these planned malls, is emphasising the demand for mall expansion across the West African country.

According to Hakeem Ogunniran, managing director of UACN Property Development Company (UPDC) in Nigeria, Lagos could effectively hold 20 malls. The rapidly expanding city and commercial hub currently has three large modern shopping malls (with a fourth to be opened soon) and has seen a growing consumer class and a number of international retail companies enter the space.

Ogunniran told How we made it in Africa that Johannesburg, with a population of 4-5m people, has substantially more malls than Lagos. “Lagos with 17-20m could presumably take up to 20-25 malls.”

UPDC, which is also developing in the residential and commercial (office) real estate markets, is looking at the country’s potential in its “B and C grade” cities for formal retail infrastructure, office spaces and residential developments, said Ogunniran.

This is in alignment with what Resilient Africa’s managing director Holden Marshall told How we made it in Africa last month. Resilient Africa is focused specifically on developing smaller shopping centres in Nigeria, of which Shoprite is a partner.

Although Resilient Africa is securing sites to develop malls in the popular retail hubs of Lagos and Abuja, it is also targeting a number of other cities in the country. Warri in the Delta State in southern Nigeria will see the Delta City Mall completed by November next year. Marshall said the company has either secured or is in the process of securing sites in Asaba, Benin City, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Yenagoa and Abeokuta.

According to Marshall, the growing middle class population in these cities is underserviced. “And that’s why the retailers are going there… [They] have got money to spend and are looking for good brands, a nice environment, and a modern facility. And that’s what we are hoping to capture and deliver.”

Warri, where Resilient Africa’s first mall is being built, is seeing rapid growth and has a good income per capita.

“That whole south Delta region of Nigeria, a large part of it is based on an oil economy,” Marshall explained. “All those cities in that region are growing exceptionally fast. In the last three years they have all sort of quadrupled in size. So Warri is quite a substantial city. [There are] indications of a population of 1.5m that is sort of countable but there are a lot more [people].”