Areas and Places

Old Mutual and local entrepreneurs partner to revolutionize retail

Paul Simon, of Young Designers Emporium.
Paul Simon, of Young Designers Emporium.

Old Mutual Property and retail entrepreneurs Paul Simon, of Young Designers Emporium, and Arie Fabian of the Fabiani brand, have announced a collaboration called EGG which aims to reimagine retail.

In recognition of the nurturing, incubating and hatching of novel concepts, the 50-50 joint venture “will provide a new vision of the future as retail pivots towards a more resilient and sustainable future” comments Sakina Nosarka, Head of Retail at Old Mutual Property.

By looking at the opportunity in changing consumer preferences and in the disruption of traditional retail spaces during Covid-19, this innovative collaboration leverages key Millennial and Generation-Z behavioural insights in the evolution of an entirely new shopping experience.

Uniting omnichannel in a multidimensional shopping as-experience format that combines retail, e-commerce and an interactive consumer app, EGG is appealing to a new generation of consumer that is seeking an all-inclusive entertainment, locally sources, learning and lifestyle fulfilment experience from a trip to the mall” says Simon.

We are continuously seeking innovative ways to differentiate our tenant mix through independent retailers to add an element of surprise and product discovery to shoppers. This ensures constant reinvention that enhances sustainable returns.”

Representing Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) through its retail portfolio is important to Old Mutual. “By making retail spaces in leading malls available to local brands currently underrepresented in physical shopping centres, Old Mutual’s partnership with EGG is ‘democratising’ retail in South Africa, so to speak” says Nosarka.

This partnership will allow vendors without any previous retail experience to gain fully supported access to omnichannel retail space in the heart of South Africa’s prime shopping precinct.”

In addition to reigniting growth and job creation in the sector by engaging local skills, the hugely expanded range of experiences and services enabled by EGG will make retail accessible to a much wider, local, younger, and online segment. “Collaborations are essential to ensure consumers gain access to new and exciting products” notes Nosarka.

At the same time, Old Mutual is leveraging its property portfolio to give expression to its shared value philosophy. By broadening access and inclusion to SMMEs through creative partnerships like EGG, we believe we are supporting local business, boosting the economy, and creating jobs” says Peter Levett, Managing Director at Old Mutual Property.

Levett says that Old Mutual is leading in the rethinking of retail property at a time when the South African economy needs it most. “This partnership is a testament to our ability to innovate and our belief that the retail sector can drive meaningful socio-economic progress.”

The 3 800m2 of prime retail space previously held by Edgars on the first and mezzanine levels of Cape Town’s Cavendish Square will be transformed into the ‘brick and mortar’ outlet of 240 emerging local brands including Swiitch Beauty, Tshepo Jeans, Fuata Moyo and Scheckters Raw, offering shoppers fashion, food, streetwear, sneakers, soles, jewellery, wellness, accessories and beauty.

The venture will provide SMMEs access to a full omnichannel platform including e-commerce that is managed by EGG on behalf of each vendor partner.

In addition, vendors will receive business support with all live sales and stock tracking, merchandise management (storage, replenishment, visual merchandising) supported on the EGG vendor platform – enabling SMMEs to manage their stores remotely,” says Simon. 

While the EGG concept launches in Cape Town in late November, within thirty-six months, there will be three more EGG precincts in both the Zone @ Rosebank and Bedford centres in Johannesburg as well as Gateway Mall in Durban.

Bringing SMME brands into quality physical retail spaces where they can interact with established brands in a virtually enhanced omnichannel environment is not only “a first for South Africa — and possibly Africa at large — but represents a significant global evolution,” concludes Simon.

Through co-creation and collaboration, we are co-evolving new growth and sustainable opportunity through the curation of unique local partnerships with universal appeal.”