With just under 2000 malls and fierce competition, South Africa’s shopping centre industry has become overtraded, leaving little space for the erection of malls in the future.
The country has the sixth largest number of malls in the world with the United States, Canada, China, Japan and the United Kingdom being the only countries that boast more. Developers are looking for other initiatives in growing the industry with re-development being the core focus.
Partner at MDS Architecture, Donald McGillivray, who has been designing malls for 20 years, suggests that tenants may be part of the people putting pressure on developers to extend.
“The next phase of retail in South Africa, and we already see it happening already, is going to be refurbishments. Because of the competition and because there are so many big malls out there in South Africa, developers are taking already existing shopping centres and they’re going to be re-doing these malls, turning them into state of the art facilities,” says McGillivray.
An example of this is Johannesburg’s Fourways Mall which is forging ahead with an additional 90 000 square metres, seeing it grow to 170 000 square metres. Upon completion in 2018, it will be the biggest in the Gauteng Province and the second biggest in the country.
In its planning, Waterfall City’s Mall of Africa has already made provisions for future growth.
“What we did very uniquely here, we’ve got 130 000 [square metres] at this point and time. We have catered to be able to take it bigger but we have catered for it now in our planning. We’ve planned for the add-on, as and when demand is there,” says Attacq CEO, Morne Wilken, which owns the Mall of Africa.
Shopping centres have grown from an average of 4 million square metres in 1994 to 23 million square meters to date.
Dirk Prinsloo is one of the few people in the world who has completed over 3000 studies on 250 shopping centres. He says the growth in the South African population is one of the contributors to the number of malls the country currently has.
“The population has increased from 40 million people [in 1994] to 55 million, which has contributed to the growth in the shopping centre industry. The growth in the middle markets, referring to LSM 5 to 7, that particular market has grown by more than four million households during the last 20 years. That has contributed immensely to the spend in the market,” says Prinsloo.
Prinsloo says another major factor in the growth of shopping malls is South Africa’s retail industry which has been getting heavy international attention since 2010 with a large number of big names coming into the country’s shopping centres.