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Michael O’Malley, director of real estate development company RMB Westport, says there is an opportunity for value retailers to enter the Nigerian market, which will drive the development of shopping centres.
RMB Westport has been involved in the development of the Ikeja City Mall and the Circle Mall, both in Nigeria’s commercial hub Lagos. However, he says the relatively small number of formal retailers active in the country is holding back the development of more shopping malls.
“The retailer base in Nigeria at the moment is not broad enough for even the smaller centres to gain a lot of traction. The types of retailers that are currently present in Nigeria are not offering a discount product to the public. We need value discount retailers to… look at the market opportunity in Nigeria.”
However, he concedes this is easier said than done. One of the challenges is that many international discount retailers are seeking local Nigerian partners, who in turn are under stress due to the country’s economic troubles.
He added it is also property developers’ responsibility to build the type of shopping centres that will allow value retailers to flourish. “We’ve got to construct sustainable buildings that enable market-related rentals to be agreed with those retailers. And that is a lot of hard work that many of us are undertaking at the moment, but is certainly has a long way to go.”