13 Dec 2012
Shopping mall owners in South Africa expect record sales turnover this festive season as consumers gear up for the big spend on various items.
Middelburg Mall which opened in April has already attracted over three million shoppers and retailers are reporting excellent trading densities across the board.
With Middelburg Mall, it was the catalyst behind the extensive construction taking place in the Middelburg area.
A development boom is underway in Middelburg across retail, industrial, commercial and residential property.
Mike Tammadge, centre manager, has a positive outlook for retail, both in South Africa and at Middelburg Mall and says with the extended shopping hours this festive season, they expect a record turnout.
Tammadge points out that retail sales in South Africa continue to grow year-on-year by an average 6.4 percent.
Looking at specific categories, textiles, clothing and footwear should continue to trade well and for the festive season, fashion always trades strongly followed closely by consumables, he says.
“The shopping mall has a valuable role in society which remains strong and relevant, despite online buying trends.”
He notes that online shopping in South Africa continues to increase, confirmed by the number of major retailers embracing it.
However shoppers continue to support mall-shopping more than ever as shoppers want to have the choice and the shopping experience.
“When it comes to experience, malls offer much more - they are a place to interact with products in a pleasant environment.”
In keeping up with the festive theme, he says their Christmas Decor is a hit with both retailers and shoppers and stresses the importance for a mall to interact with its community, such as children’s entertainment, which Middelburg Mall is dishing up a-plenty this festive season.
“The continued growth in foot traffic will ensure that retail targets will be met and mostly exceeded, this festive season,” says Tammadge.
Meanwhile, Liberty Properties recently announced the official opening of its new taxi rank following an investment of approximately R7 million at Eastgate Shopping Centre in Bedfordview Gauteng.
The relocated, upgraded rank will function as a key commuter hub for the broader Eastern suburbs of Johannesburg.
The new Eastgate rank is located near the Mica Store with easy access via Entrance 5 and 6 into the centre.
It’s relocation from the previous site just off Bradford Road will also relieve an element of congestion experienced during peak travel times.
The Eastgate taxi rank services areas such as Bedfordview , Soweto, Vosloorus, Spruitview, Pomola, Leondale, Alberton, Katlehong, Natalspruit, Braamfontein, Germiston, Kempton Park, Edenvale, Alexandra, Midrand and Ivory Park
It is among the largest super regional malls in the country and recent research shows that 30 percent of its shoppers travel there via public transport.
Maurice Mdlolo, chief operating officer for Liberty Properties, says Eastgate has been a landmark in the area for more than 30 years, and it’s an important part of their business strategy to work together with the community that supports the company.
Mdlolo says the Ekurhuleni Council had been looking for a suitable space to house a prominent taxi rank for some time, and the Eastgate precinct presented the ideal solution.
“For the centre, it’s an excellent opportunity to offer a significant percentage of its shoppers a more convenient transport experience.”
According to Hester Wasserfall, deputy centre manager, the relocation of the taxi rank provides shoppers with easier access to the centre.
“We worked closely with the four taxi associations operating in the area to agree on the chosen location as well as the various requirements.”
He says the upgraded site is a modernised, larger space able to accommodate 140 bays (the previous area could only house 85 bays).
It is also under cover with improved public facilities and Liberty Properties will be responsible for providing a clean, secure environment for all commuters using the new facility, he says.
In Cape Town and now in its second year of trading at Sable Square, trustees of the China Town Trust have expanded China Town, adding 690 square metres of space and turning it into 10 additional shops.
This was the second China Town to be opened by the China Town Trust, the first was in Ottery over five years ago and most recently a third was opened in Parow at the Shoprite Centre in Voortrekker Road.
Between the three centres there are now in excess of 160 traders, all of whom have employed at least one local person, if not two, and together with security staff, cleaners and management, over 400 permanent jobs have been created.
According to Steve Kruger, a trustee of the China Town Trust, China Town Sable Square continues to be a very popular shopping destination for customers from all walks of life.
It opens seven days a week, from 9am to 5pm offering a wide range of goods, from clothing to toys, electronic goods, food, homeware, and much more.
“Shoppers continually seek more value for money and a large variety of goods in an exciting and secure environment.”
When these centres were originally opened sceptics didn’t believe the concept would work, but the thousands of feet that pass through each centre each week prove that this is a popular way to shop, he adds.- Denise Mhlanga
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