Building on its four-year track record of festive season sales growth, the 50,000sqm Middelburg Mall in Mpumalanga is primed to enjoy continued increases in trade this holiday shopping season.
Middelburg Mall General Manager Mike Tammadge believes that if the 10% growth in festive trade the mall achieved last year is anything to go by, its 2016 seasonal sales could be up around 10% to 12% from 2015.
He reports that, while all Middelburg Mall retailers experience a boost in trade at this time of year, its department stores, and specifically grocers, are likely to be most popular with shoppers this December.
In addition, Tammadge expects fast food, tech, gaming and electronics, jewellery and gift and toys stores to be among those most favoured by festive shoppers.
“During the holidays, people typically look for shopping experiences that offer a wide variety of choice with the latest ranges of everything they want,” says Tammadge.
“Good children’s entertainment is a priority for creating an appealing holiday shopping experience. Safety and security and seasonal décor also have a meaningful contribution to the enjoyable festive experience that shoppers expect at this time of year,” he adds.
Tammadge explains that entertainment and décor are hugely important parts of a good festive shopping experience. “Given the amount shoppers spend, it’s important that a shopping centre also buys into the festive season”
He reports: “Middelburg Mall’s traditional decorations have been well received by our local community. We combine this with an extensive entertainment programme. The result is that our mall is well supported by families who want to experience the magic of the festive season first-hand.”
Tammadge notes that annual bonuses boost spending power over the season and increase cash buys. Although, he adds, shoppers use both cash and credit to make their seasonal purchases.
No doubt, online shopping will continue to grow and have an impact on instore shopping. However, Tammadge points out this impact may fly in the face of expectations.
“Several recent studies show retailers continue to trade well instore across most sectors. Because shopping centres have moved with trends by increasing their entertainment offerings and enhancing their experience, this more than compensates for the impact of online shopping. Shoppers also value the unique ‘touch, feel and try’ experience of instore shopping, which cannot be matched online.”
Tammadge notes the role of shopping centres in their communities is also evolving, starting with keeping spend local to boost the local economy.
“At Middelburg Mall, we also support community initiatives and have a collection point for donations towards a particular cause. Right now, we are collecting stationery for the schools of local in-need communities,” says Tammadge.
And, with South Africa’s sophisticated and growing shopping centre industry, Tammadge expects the sector’s benefits to continue to multiply.
“Next year, a number of regional shopping centres will open across South Africa and, what’s more, several revamps and expansions of shopping centres will be completed. The bar is being raised for retailer mix and shopping centre experience in the country,” says Tammadge.
“The good news is the consumer is the ultimate winner,” he stresses.“In 2017, shoppers can also expect to see more new international brands entering the market and shopping centres offering a bigger variety of entertainment and leisure as they compete to attract shopper numbers and spend.”