Kampala’s retail profile has started to transform with the entry of South African retailers into the market. Metro Cash and Carry and their ‘Lucky 7’ franchise opened up in Kampala in mid-1999, and in contrast to Nairobi, face little local competition. Fast-food operators Nandos and Steers have recently opened their first outlets, while the Shell Select shops have provided a franchised chain of small food shops throughout the city.
A number of further proposed shopping centres in the city have received planning consent, but none have proceeded to the construction stage to date.
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As with the rest of East Africa, retail rents tend to be based on unit price as opposed to a price per sq m. Retail rents peaked in 1995 at around US$25 per sq m per month plus periodic payment of goodwill for standard retail units in the city centre. Current rents range from US$14-18 per sq m per month for a standard high street shop to US$80 per sq m per month for a small, untypical unit at the Sheraton Hotel.
The inward flow of expatriates, foreign diplomats and returned Ugandan and Asian exiles over the past few years, together with the added impetus that resulted from the Rwanda crisis of 1994/5, has boosted the demand for quality housing. The city’s residential market has grown rapidly in response, through the development of new housing as well as the renovation of older stock.