Community centres drive Cairo’s retail market


October 18, 2020 | By RetailME Bureau

The retail sector in Cairo gained impetus in Q3 of 2020, according to JLL’s Q3 Cairo Real Estate Market Performance report. The push primarily driven by growing demand from F&B tenants for smaller neighbourhoods and community malls with ample outdoor space.

The Q3 saw the delivery of about 215,000 sqft of retail space with the completion of Avenues Mall in Al-Rehab. It brought the total retail supply to 24.7 million sqft. Another 107,760 sqft of GLA will enter the market in the last quarter of 2020.

The third quarter recorded a slight recovery in the retail sector with new leases signed and retailers proceeding with their expansion plans in specific prime areas. While demand for regional and super-regional malls remain subdued, smaller neighbourhood and community malls and strip retail have witnessed an increase in demand.

Many retail lease agreements during Q3 2020 were reverted to original pre-COVID commitments, increasing the rents in primary and secondary malls by 10% and 3% respectively. Although new leases are signed, and retailers are proceeding with their expansion plans in specific prime areas, the demand for regional and super-regional malls remained subdued.

“The pandemic has brought with it many implications to the real estate sector with the retail market having been affected the most. It is now important for retailers to be able to offer a spacious place for people to meet outside of their home while ensuring customers get positive and unique experiences. To this extent, shopping centres need to evolve to become more than a place to shop,” says Ayman Sami, country head, JLL, Egypt.

The current supply of completed retail GLA estimated based on a comprehensive list of mall-based retail in Cairo and handed over for immediate occupation. JLL’s project list excludes street retail and retail within mixed-use buildings.

Cairo’s hotel sector saw the opening of The St. Regis Cairo in downtown, the first significant hotel completion in the city for 2020. This milestone has seen 366 keys added to the total stock, with around 440 more keys scheduled for completion during the fourth quarter of 2020.

Although the country opened for tourism since July 2020, low levels of tourist arrivals have continued to pose downward pressure on Cairo’s hotel sector. Occupancy levels registered at 33% in the year to (YT) August 2020, while average daily rates (ADR’s) and revenue per available room (RevPar’s) declined 16% and 65%, respectively to record $83 and $25 over the same period.

The report also highlighted that Q3 2020 witnessed no new additions to the residential market, maintaining the total stock at 159,000 units. Sales prices in the primary market remained stable as developers continued to attract demand through extended payment plans, while the secondary market declined by 2% and 9% on an annual basis. Meanwhile, rental prices continued to perform strongly, with a yearly increase of 13% and 21%, respectively.

The office sector in Cairo remained stable at 11.8 million sqft of GLA during the third quarter. Average office rent rates remained at $30.20 per sqft, on an annual basis, similar to vacancy rates that also remained unchanged at 11%. While business activity is not back to pre-COVID levels, the market witnessed an increase in leasing enquiries, driven by expansion plans of international corporates, particularly in the e-commerce and pharmaceutical industries.

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