Tsh­wane is mall mad… that’s our city scene

We have ev­ery­thing; shop­ping cen­tres, en­ter­tain­ment galore

Pretoria News Weekend - - NEWS - GOITSEMANG THLABYE

TSH­WANE isn’t just the cap­i­tal city; it is a mall­mad one too. We all know that South Africans like shop­ping, or hang­ing out at the mall, and the city has plenty of malls with a wide range of shop­ping and en­ter­tain­ment of­fer­ings to sat­isfy the de­mand.

The city not only has more malls than most – it also boasts Men­lyn Park Shop­ping Cen­tre which is the big­gest mall in the area, and one of the largest in Africa with a to­tal floor space of 170 000m² and more than 500 shops.

Four­ways is un­der rede­vel­op­ment and it will be slightly larger than Men­lyn.

Ac­cord­ing to the SA Shop­ping Coun­cil, South Africa has the sixth high­est num­ber of shop­ping cen­tres in the world, de­spite the size of its pop­u­la­tion rank­ing only 29th in the world.

Tsh­wane alone stands ahead of the pack with 24 malls – and a num­ber, in­clud­ing Mams Mall, un­der con­struc­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Trip Ad­vi­sor the city’s “best” malls in­clude Brook­lyn, Wood­lands and Irene Vil­lage.

Pre­to­ria has been de­scribed as a pre­mier shop­ping des­ti­na­tion, “with ev­ery­thing rang­ing from ex­tremely high-end bou­tiques to bar­gain base­ment out­let malls”.

The malls are not only fre­quented by lo­cals, but by vis­i­tors too – with reg­u­lar bus loads ar­riv­ing at Men­lyn’s wel­come cen­tre.

A re­cent study con­ducted by MSCI Real Es­tate SA, on be­half of the South African Coun­cil of Shop­ping Cen­tres (SACSC), noted that malls were get­ting big­ger.

New data in­di­cated that the av­er­age size of cen­tres de­vel­oped have steadily in­creased in size since the 1990s with cen­tres slated for com­ple­tion be­tween 2017 and 2020 be­ing sig­nif­i­cantly larger than those de­vel­oped dur­ing the 1990s and 2000s.

The larger malls have the ad­van­tage of dom­i­nat­ing beyond their catch­ment ar­eas and at­tract­ing a higher pro­por­tion of na­tional ten­ants, and spe­cial­ity stores, thus strength­en­ing their ap­peal and po­si­tion.

Malls also of­fer cine­mas and other recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties with Pre­to­ria boast­ing two ice rinks – at For­est Hill and The Grove, and a wide range of eat­ing op­tions.

Vishal Ram­phal, public re­la­tions of­fi­cer for the coun­cil, said a rea­son for the in­crease in mall size, in­clud­ing rede­vel­op­ment of malls, may be glob­al­i­sa­tion.

“Glob­al­i­sa­tion has brought many in­ter­na­tional brands into the coun­try that were once con­sid­ered unattain­able. This means that the store-within-a-store that stock th­ese in­ter­na­tional brands will be ren­dered ob­so­lete, thus cre­at­ing the op­por­tu­nity for ex­panded re­tail space.”

He added: “When we drill down to the square me­ter­age of re­tail space, South Africa ranks as sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa’s most sat­u­rated re­tail mar­ket, rep­re­sent­ing 88% of the avail­able space in the re­gion.”

De­spite news re­ports of mall rob­beries, most shop­pers feel safe in the city’s malls.

Zanele Dube, of Pre­to­ria east, vis­its malls be­cause of the vibe. She likes to win­dow shop in a safe en­vi­ron­ment.

“The big­ger the mall the more va­ri­ety. Malls are a one-stop where you can do your gro­ceries and get new shoes with­out the has­sle of driv­ing all over the place,” she said.

Soshanguve res­i­dent Boi­tumelo Nkosi said she liked go­ing to malls.

“Although a mall is al­ways busy, it just feels safe and re­fresh­ing. It’s a sim­ple day out on your own or with friends and chances of bump­ing into nosy neigh­bours are slim.”

Cen­tu­rion res­i­dent Bon­tle Raseroka says the ap­peal of mod­ern malls is more about an ex­pe­ri­ence and en­ter­tain­ment; not just shop­ping as there are are­nas and in­door sports fa­cil­i­ties.

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