Liberty Promenade remains resilient despite bleak retail conditions

Liberty Promenade, Mitchells Plain
Liberty Promenade, Mitchells Plain's regional shopping centre.

Understanding your shopper is paramount to getting the right tenant mix, and putting that theory into practice gives Liberty Promenade, Mitchells Plain’s regional shopping centre, the edge.

Liberty Promenade, located in the heart of Mitchells Plain, has more than 170 stores, a gym, medical centre, drive-thru’s and a family entertainment wing which includes a buzzing food court and cinemas. The mall attracts more than one million shoppers each month, which is amongst the highest shopping centre foot counts seen in the country. The 73 400m2 shopping centre is positioned as the destination of choice in the Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha areas by offering the community a valuable resource.

The South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) Retail Trends Report recorded a turnover growth of -4% for the first quarter of 2017. Despite the current bleak retail trading conditions in South Africa, Liberty Promenade remains resilient with consistent strong positive trading density growth year on year. Liberty Promenade’s turnover grew by 11% in the year to May 2017 compared to the same period in 2016 and it has seen an improvement in the spend per head.

Unique to the Centre’s service offering is a branch of SARS and a City of Cape Town municipal office servicing the whole of Mitchells Plain and Strandfontein. Their anchor tenants, Game and Pick n Pay, provide social-grant pay-outs to South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) recipients, a key service in the area.

“We value our customers, and we want to ensure that they have the best possible shopping experience when visiting us,” says Nikiwe Mkhabela, Asset Management Executive for Liberty Promenade at Liberty Two Degrees. “It was the logic behind our strategic repositioning and the introduction of key stores and unique service tenants.” Last year Liberty Promenade introduced a number of new offerings, including Dis-Chem, HiFi Corporation, a Burger King drive-thru, Sorbet Drybar and Pick n Pay Clothing. “The tenant mix speaks directly to the market we serve, resulting in shopper loyalty and consistent turnover growth,” Mkhabela observes.

The centre is owned by Liberty Two Degrees and Liberty Group Limited which also owns some of South Africa’s iconic assets which include Sandton City, Nelson Mandela Square, Eastgate Shopping Centre, Liberty Midlands Mall and Melrose Arch.

“Liberty Promenade is a gem. According to the latest Clur research, the centre outperforms within its class, both in terms of overall trading density and growth levels,” says Belinda Clur, retail strategist and MD of Clur Research International (Pty) Ltd which evaluates shopping centres. “Liberty Promenade is extremely well positioned, seeming to form the heart of the community, and attracts high levels of loyalty from a strong surrounding catchment,” says Belinda Clur.

The tenant mix has been extremely well crafted to support the needs of the surrounding catchment. The centre is going from strength to strength, with over 70% of categories showing positive growth in trading densities.

Liberty Promenade is easily accessed by public transport with a taxi rank positioned on its property and security at the mall is a priority.

“We’ve invested over R10 million in security improvements since 2010, including a continuous upgrade of our CCTV surveillance system, ongoing training of security resources and improved parking-area lighting,” says Mkhabela.

To maintain their competitive edge, the owners plan to continue their improvement strategy by re-sizing and repositioning certain stores and introducing new local and international offerings suitable for the customers.