Finweek English Edition - - Cover -

(OMPI), which counts malls such as Men­lyn Park Shop­ping Cen­tre in Pre­to­ria and Gate­way Theatre of Shop­ping in Umhlanga in its port­fo­lio, is a happy Wool­worths land­lord.

When Wool­worths opened a full-line store at OMPI’s up­mar­ket Cavendish Square Shop­ping Cen­tre in Clare­mont, Cape Town, the foot count (num­ber of cus­tomers at the cen­tre) in­creased by over 5% in the first month, says Colin Young, OMPI’s head of in­sti­tu­tional in­vest­ments. “The cen­tre’s over­all turnover grew by a whop­ping 55% that month, while its ve­hi­cle count grew by 22%,” he says.

“Given that there are no other gro­cery re­tail­ers such as Spar or Pick ’n Pay at Cavendish Square, it’s clear that Woolies filled a nec­es­sary gap in the cen­tre’s ten­ant mix and the fig­ures clearly at­test to this,” says OMPI’s head of re­search, Belinda Clur. “The cen­tre has al­ways boasted an ex­ten­sive ap­parel cat­e­gory, in­clud­ing Tru­worths, and a num­ber of bou­tiques, which prob­a­bly of­fered Woolies more com­pe­ti­tion from a cloth­ing per­spec­tive.”

The pos­i­tive ef­fect con­tin­ued over the long term, says Clur, as Cavendish Square's turnover grew by 47%, foot count grew by 10% and spend per head grew by 34% for the rest of 2003.

Whether Woolies is hav­ing the same halo ef­fect on fel­low re­tail­ers at town­ship malls like OMPI's Um­lazi Mall in KwaZulu-Na­tal (where the Woolies store opened in May 2006) is too early to tell, says Clur. “We’ve re­ceived pos­i­tive feed­back from con­sumers re­gard­ing the store, and those who fre­quent it have said that they’d like to see it ex­panded be­yond its cur­rent 1 150m2 of­fer­ing. We have yet to see whether the price lev­els at this store will be sus­tain­able in this en­vi­ron­ment,” ex­plains Clur.

Colin Young

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