03 May 2012
The South African retail property market is resilient despite cost pressures such as fuel, electricity and municipal rates which impact on consumers.
Shoppers are reportedly seeking value for money offerings and the trend is lean towards discounted goods or those retailers that offer the best value for money, says Johan Engelbrecht, director retail management for JHI Properties.
He says consumers are increasingly demonstrating willingness and growing ability to manage debt as well as benefiting from historically low interest rates.
Although discretionary spend is still under pressure, the retail categories of household goods, textiles, pharmaceutical and apparel remain well supported, says Engelbrecht.
Importantly, he points out that even with the pressures of rising operational and utility costs, coupled with affordability of space, they have managed to keep vacancy levels at regional shopping centres managed by JHI Properties very low at below four percent.
Retail sales turnover of these centres increased on average by seven percent over the past year to date.
JHI manages over 2.2 million square metres of retail space in Southern Africa, comprising some 240 shopping centres.
Focusing on specific tenants’ needs, ensuring the right tenants are placed in preferred position, size, layout and design and taking into account the tenant mix in regard to consumer spend and behaviour, they have seen these shopping centres consistently achieve good sales.
The shopping centre opened its new extension in December 2011 with fully let space of approximately 6 400 square metres largely driven by the launch of a new Edgars store, popular with shoppers.
JHI Properties aims to grow its retail business unit over the next few years and increase its portfolio of managed retail centres, including elsewhere in Africa.
Read about retail opportunities in Africa here.
The Mall of the North in Limpopo, a super-regional shopping centre that opened on 14 April 2011, reports a successful year of trading as shoppers continue to delight in its retail offerings.
General manager Sumari de Ridder says the Mall of the North has quickly become a massive part of the Polokwane and regional communities’ regular shopping patterns.
She says the mall has boosted the local economy by keeping retail spend local, provides employment for around 2 000 people, with roughly 1 800 permanent jobs and about 200 temporary positions.
“Retailer turnovers at the mall essentially doubled across the board during December 2011,” she says.
De Ridder notes that while many shoppers visit the centre for its vast retail variety and regular grocery shopping, fashion comes first with Limpopo’s trendy shoppers.
Shoppers are keen on branded fashion labels, quality and value and look to retailers such as Spitz, Sunglass Hut and Edgars.
A fun day-out is also popular with locals and Mall of the North’s restaurants and coffee shops can attest to this.
“Mall of the North Spur achieved the group’s highest turnover in the Limpopo Province and was fourth highest in the Gauteng Region during December 2011,” points out De Ridder.
She describes Mall of the North’s first year of trading as exceptional, but says there is lots of good shopping still to come.
Situated on the corner of Hamlin Street and 6th Avenue, it is located within an established residential node which, in recent years, has become home to a number of younger families.
Norwood Mall is owned by South African property investment company, The Cavaleros Group.
They say a survey by the shopping centre revealed that a third of Norwood Mall shoppers would like a Food Lover’s Market at the mall.
Elsabe Griesel, portfolio manager at The Cavaleros Group, explains that the survey conducted by Fernridge Consulting shows that Norwood Mall already enjoys shopper loyalty from its mainly middle- to upper-income customers.
Ninety percent of Norwood Mall’s customers shop at the centre every day or every week and 80 percent buy their food and groceries at the mall.
She says the report findings made them realise that there was a need to offer variety in this area and Food Lover’s Market is a perfect fit as it caters for the discerning customer and professional foodie.
The mall’s anchor tenants include Woolworths, Dis-Chem and South Africa’s top-five-performing Pick n Pay, with one of the highest turnovers in the country.
The group bought the Norwood Pick n Pay Centre in 2003.
With an investment in the centre exceeding R500 million, in 2007 it began a refurbishment to create a vibrant shopping centre with a wide selection of leading retailers.
“The needs of our shoppers are constantly evolving and it is important that we grow and transform to stay abreast with their needs,” says Griesel.
Shoppers can look forward to easy access, value for money and quality of retail offerings as a result of this addition.
Located at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Watt Street, a natural transport node on the historic site formerly known as Pan Africa, the Pan Africa Shopping Centre in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, opened its new expansion retail offering on 26 April.
Retailers Mr Price Weekend, Truworths and Edgars Active opened last week as part of the mall’s response to shopper and retailer demand.
Bandile Nyembe, Pan Africa Shopping centre manager, says the new expansion creates increased retail variety, which will go even further to meet the consumer needs of Alexandra residents and everyone who shops at this commuter retail centre.
“We will continue to bring our shoppers the things that are important to them and make every day shopping in Alex easy,” says Nyembe.
Pan Africa Shopping Centre is part of the Presidential Alexandra Renewal Project and it is owned by Pan Africa DevCo, a company formed by Tebfin Developments in partnership with local entrepreneurs and the two main taxi associations in Alexandra, being ATA and ARMSTA.
Opened in 2009, it was the first of its kind in South Africa, built with fully integrated public transport including a 50 000 square metre taxi facility.
“Pan Africa Shopping Centre has surpassed all expectation and has become a strong catalyst for further new investment and development in its community,” says Tebogo Mogashoa of Tebfin.
The shopping centre continues to report increased turnovers for tenants.
Pedestrian and taxi traffic are also showing an upward trend and more than 50 000 people use the area daily as well as 1 500 taxis, according to its owners.
Mogashoa adds the mall is registering steady, sustainable growth and they plan to expand in the near future in line with community and retailer needs. – Denise Mhlanga
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