Retailers return to CBD as demand grows.

Posted On Monday, 17 February 2003 10:01 Published by
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Upward curve: study shows need for more supermarkets and clothing and furniture stores in city.

RETAIL in the Cape Town CBD is on a steady upward curve. In November 2000, nearly 200 retail shops were vacant in the central city.

Today, there are only about 67 shops vacant, a decrease in vacancies of 66.5%. This bears out the fact that retailers are starting to respond to demand and to purchasing tendencies.

Retail research undertaken by Market Decisions in 2001 and 2002 indicated that purchasing tendencies had increased in the CBD. Grocery purchases increased from 44% to 50% of respondents, and clothing from 50% to 60%.

Demand had also risen sharply, with respondents asking for more supermarkets (28% in 2001 vs 40% in 2002), more clothing stores (18% in 2001 vs 33% in 2002), more furniture and furnishings (3% in 2001 vs 17% in 2002) and restaurants (10% in 2001 vs 30% in 2002).

Significantly, 65% of all CBD workers now conduct their personal banking in the central city, up from 52% in 2001. A number of new branches of the major banks have opened since 2000, which is a contributing factor.

Partnership CEO Michael Farr said: 'An improved environment for retail trade was the first thing we delivered through significantly increasing both security and cleansing through the City Improvement District. Secondly, we have been steadily raising awareness about the retail offering in the central city through a number of marketing initiatives being funded by ratepayers through the CID and through the recently launched CBD Retailers Association.

This combination has meant that those already working in the central city are starting to rediscover what's on offer in South Africa's most attractive shopping centre. 'In a broader context, if one considers the environment and our location, I believe we could lay claim to being one of the world's most attractive shopping centres,' Farr said.

'Another significant success has been letting existing and new retailers understand the market that is available in the central city. According to the survey, 75% of all people in the central city are in income groups with significant disposable income to spend on retail.

This clearly has a large impact on employment and job creation in the central city. 'If you consider that the central city of Cape Town accounts for 240 000 commuters (private vehicles and public transport) who commute in an out of the city centre every working day, the market is an incredibly attractive one for retail trade,' Farr said.

Publisher: Weekend Argus
Source: Weekend Argus

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