By the year 2018, more than 223 new shopping centres are expected to be opened across the continent and the total surface area (GLA), excluding South Africa, is expected to reach 10 million m² by the year under review.

According to Sagaci Research, a market intelligence firm dedicated to African markets, these new malls openings will provide more store opening opportunities for retail brands, especially in Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Angola, Zambia, Mozambique and Namibia where a large number of new malls are expected to open in the coming years.

Beyond the 223 expected projects, a significant number of additional opportunities exist for real estate developers’ in 14 priority markets where the density of malls per middle and upper-class households will remain low in 2018: Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan, Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Gabon, DR Congo, Angola, Zimbabwe and Uganda.

The research company released the third edition of its report, “Shopping Malls across Africa”, showing a strong growth for a third consecutive year.

According to the report, since January 2014, 31 new malls have been opened across the continent and the total retail surface has increased by 13 percent to 5.3 million square meters (GLA), with 292 malls currently opened (excluding South Africa). The number of malls in West Africa has increased by 19 percent in the past 18 months; the remaining regions have increased by 9 percent on average. North Africa still has the greatest number of malls with 112.

In Tanzania, there are eight malls with an average GLA of 9,000 m². Since January 2014, a new mall has been opened in the country and three new malls are expected to open by 2018 with a total GLA of 63,000 m².

The largest newly opened malls since January 2014 in Africa are The District (72,261 m² in Cairo, Egypt), The Mall Grove of Namibia (55,000 m² in Windhoek, Namibia) and Genena City (51,000 m² in Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt).

Despite these large openings, most malls across the African continent are rather small compared to their European or US counterparts. The average mall in Africa is 18,300 m² GLA, while malls in North Africa are slightly larger with an average of 25,500 m² and in 13,800 m² in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Top malls rated AAA according to Sagaci Research’s rating system are all located in North Africa (Three of them in Egypt and one in Morocco). No new AAA centres have been opened in the last year and the highest rated newly opened malls are the “ West Hills Mall” (AA) in Accra, Ghana the “Grove Mall of Namibia” (A) in Windhoek, Namibia and “Tsumeb Mall” (A) in Tsumeb, Namibia.

Driven by the increase in high-quality retail space across the continent, international European and North American brands such as Bata, Adidas, Mango, Celio, Carrefour, Etam, Aldo, KFC, Nike and Levis are increasing their number of stores in Africa. Mr Price, Woolworths, Shoprite and Truworths are the top South African brands showing strong expansion growth across the region.