Regional performance and supply

Posted On Thursday, 27 September 2001 03:01 Published by
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WHILE everything else in life is getting smaller, shopping malls are bucking the trend.

WHILE everything else in life is getting smaller, shopping malls are bucking the trend. A survey conducted by market research company Urban Studies indicates that SAs 10 largest shopping malls have increased in size during the past eight years.

Speaking at a conference on retailing trends this week, Dirk Prinsloo, CEO of Urban Studies, said the top 10 malls had increased their size by almost 130 000m², about the size of 16 rugby fields, since 1993.

This, he says, indicates that a growing number of South Africans prefer to do their shopping in mega-malls and that retailers are scrambling for space in such centres.

Community-type shopping centres stand to be the losers, says Prinsloo.

The 10 largest malls will soon include the sprawling Gateway shopping centre, which opens on September 29 in Durban.

The Gateway, which cost Old Mutual Properties R1.4-billion to build, is the largest shopping mall in southern Africa, covering more than 150 000m².

International trends, says US-based retail and consumer products expert Margaret Gilliam, indicate that bigger shopping centres have more appeal to consumers.

In other countries you find that the old centres are disappearing because they did not adapt to a changed reality. Larger malls provide lots of shoppertainment, therefore ensuring that shoppers keep coming back, she said.

Urban Studies says between 1998 and this year, the percentage of shoppers visiting smaller malls like Durbans Workshop has dropped from 81% to 75% while the number of visitors to mega-malls has grown by 50%.

Prinsloo says research by his firm indicates several interesting changes in shopping in SA.

The average age of shoppers has declined, and the extension of shopping hours has led to more male shoppers visiting malls. Also, average household income for shopping centres now varies between R4 000 and R6 000 a month in some parts of the country and up to R25 000 in others.

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