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Retail may be rotten, but some malls are still smelling good


Retail may be rotten, but some malls are still smelling good

Attacq’s Mall of Africa at Waterfall City in Midrand stands out, but Sandton City and Eastgate aren’t bad

Joan Muller

The extent that SA shoppers are cutting back on retail therapy is underscored by the uninspiring results reported by a number of JSE-listed mall owners in recent weeks. Most have seen a slowdown in sales or trading density growth (turnover per square metre) to the low single digits versus an average 6%-8% still typically achieved five years ago.
Gauteng malls are taking most of the pain – perhaps unsurprisingly given the sheer number of new centres added to an already saturated market in recent years.
Hyprop Investments, historically the go-to stock for anyone looking for exposure to SA’s prime shopping centres, last week reported an overall drop of 0.6% in trading densities in its nine malls for the six months to December.
That’s the first time in many years that Hyprop’s trading densities have dipped into negative growth territory. Only three of its malls (Clearwater Mall on the West Rand, Cape Gate in Cape Town and Atterbury Value Mart in Pretoria) recorded positive growth albeit at a mere 1%.
Trading densities at Rosebank Mall and Hyde Park Corner in Joburg both dropped by 3%. Resilient’s Gauteng malls also count among its poorer performers performers including The Grove (-0.9%) in Pretoria and Jabulani Mall (-1.7%) and Rivonia Village (-6%) in Johannesburg.
But not all Gauteng malls have seen a slide in sales and footfall.
Liberty Two Degrees’ Sandton City and Eastgate notched up growth of 3.9% and 2.9% respectively last year. Most impressive, however, is Attacq’s Mall of Africa at Waterfall City in Midrand, which continues to defy its early critics with impressive growth of 12.7% for the six months to December.

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