Attacq, the real estate investment trust that owns Mall of Africa, Waterfall and a number of precinct-focused convenience and regional malls, is planning for continued growth in footfalls today and through the rest of the Christmas season trading period.
The group’s asset and property management executive Michael Clampett said in an interview yesterday that shopping centre and mall owners usually staff up on Black Friday, in terms of additional security and additional staff to guide shoppers, as well as, for instance, making parking free to alleviate potential queues at parking ticket vending machines. The aim was to ensure an easy and safe flow of shoppers through their facilities, he said.
He said he expected that most malls, including their restaurants, would reach pre-Covid levels of trade through this period, if they had not done so already, based on his assessment of recent growth at the group’s shopping centres.
He said, for instance, that turnover growth at the Mall of Africa in October had reported 28% growth in retail turnover year-on-year, which was particularly strong growth. The fact that the group’s malls showed double digit turnover growth in the past 12 months added to his confidence of a strong period of trading ahead.
He said while convenience retail facilities were particularly favoured by consumers through the pandemic and in 2021, consumers appeared to be back searching for the greater variety, ranges and choices that were available in the larger regional and super-regional malls.
His views were supported by FNB Card CEO Chris Labuschagne, who said in a statement yesterday that Black Friday would likely see a return to popular categories such as travel and entertainment as customers looked to spend time with their families without any restrictions.
“In previous years we saw spend on digital and technology, groceries and home improvement products lead in popularity due to the changing climate imposed by the pandemic,” he said.
Labuschagne said while e-commerce continued its success story into 2022, “for consumers that will opt to go into brick-and-mortar stores for Black Friday shopping, we expect a significant increase in the use of contactless device and card payments”.