South African Shopping Centres Need To Up Their Game

Conditions are opportune to update good quality retail centres and their tenant mixes to make them relevant for today’s market.

The recently opened Groblersdal Mall in Limpopo has brought a top-quality and convenient shopping experience to Limpopo and Mpumalanga residents.

A tenant mix crafted by a highly skilled retail strategist is at the heart of every successful shopping centre. Retail Network Services, based in Johannesburg, has lent its expertise to the retail and leasing strategies of numerous shopping centres, creating that vibrant combination of shops, restaurants and services which attract customers from day one. The company’s years of experience together with an instinctive feel for what makes a compelling retail experience has ensured the success and long-term viability of a vast range of South African centres.

Retail Network Services is a full-service specialist retail and leasing strategist. It offers a holistic and personalised service to retailers and developers, enabling them to achieve optimal returns on their shopping centre developments and investments. Its expert team ensures that the intricate, and often puzzling, tenant mix is crafted to suit each centre’s footprint – creating a successful venture that will add enormous value to the bottom line.

CEO Gavin Tagg has amassed 30 years’ experience in the retail property field and believes that malls need to find ways to retail smarter in the face of greater competition and to serve the consumer better. He points out that with fierce competition emerging in the retail sector as well as between shopping centres, the time is right to improve existing retail assets, fight off competitors and avoid becoming dysfunctional.

“You’ve got to put your best foot forward. Otherwise, you’re going to lose out,” says Tagg. “Now is the time to pay attention to the basics and fix up fundamentals.”

With limited opportunities for new retail development, Tagg believes the conditions are opportune to polish some older retail gems, and update these centres and their tenant mixes to make them relevant for today’s market.

“If a centre already has an ideal location and a strong trading record, it makes good sense to take this sound foundation and add more depth, energy and value to it,” notes Tagg.

Retail Network Services’ key philosophy – to help bring about the best possible result for developer, tenant and shopper – is built on a strong foundation of formidable skills which guide a centre from concept to completion, and beyond. Meticulous and visionary in its approach, the company conducts detailed site surveys and feasibility studies to establish a proposed centre’s market and its needs, before crafting a concept which it knows will work in its design, its layout and its functionality.

When determining a centre’s tenant mix, Retail Network Services uses detailed research to create a mix which will deliver high trading densities as well as excellent returns for the developer. The company has an extensive retailer database and has built up solid relationships with the national retailers, all of which means it is in a strong position to procure tenants for new developments. Once the leases are signed, its experts are on hand to facilitate tenant co-ordination and administration. Retail Network Services provides the pivotal link between the professional teams, the developer and the tenants which ensures a superbly managed project delivered on time.


Groblersdal Mall

On October 26 Groblersdal Mall, a 35,000m² mall created by Twin City Development together with Retail Network Services, opened in Limpopo. Situated north of the Loskop Dam, the centre boasts a catchment area of close on 435,000 people and will now serve as a regional mall for the whole area. The opening of the mall has brought a top-quality and convenient shopping experience to Limpopo and Mpumalanga residents.

With the centre located next to the CBD and taxi rank on the R25 – which is the main road through Groblersdal – it is an easily accessible and attractive shopping option. For shoppers driving to the centre 1,593 parking bays are available.

Groblersdal Mall has been developed by Twin City Development, a leading property development and investment company focused on retail projects, with the highly experienced leasing services of Retail Network Services. The design expertise of Leon Jacobs Architects was brought on board to create a modern yet architecturally sympathetic centre for the area.

Leading household names Pick n Pay, Woolworths, Clicks, Edgars and Super Spar are front and centre among a total of 100 outlets which also include premier South African fashion brands as well as a range of eateries. Spur, Wimpy, Debonairs Pizza, Chicken Licken, King Pie and Milky Lane have all opened their doors and a ChesaNyama branch opens in December. Tops Liquor and Pick n Pay Liquor have also opened in the centre.

Among the fashion stores now available to Groblersdal residents are Mr Price, Ackermans, Miladys, Truworths, Jet, Pep and Pick n Pay Clothing as well as Markham and Foschini. Other notable tenants include Roots Butchery, West Pack, MediZone and Cape Union Mart. Homeware and furnishings are catered for by Bradlows, the Bed Shop, Furn 4U, Railway Furnishers and Mr Price Home.

Groblersdal now has both SpecSavers and Kubjane Optometrist on its doorstep. Sterns and Benjamin Jewellers have also opened while Vodacom, Cell C, MTN and Pep Cell all have branches in the mall. Sport Scene, Mr Price Sport and Total Sport provide a strong sportswear and sports equipment component.

There is an ample complement of financial institutions with all major banks represented.  African Bank, Old Mutual, Nedbank, Capitec, ABSA and FNB are among these and plentiful ATMs are available for customer convenience. The mall also houses a PostNet.

High priority has been given to safety and security thus ensuring peace of mind for customers. Attractive water features and a community Art Wall add to the aesthetic appeal of the centre. Later phases are expected to expand retail capacity and add a hotel and commercial offices. The mall is seen as the catalyst for a true mixed-use development with facilities that are considered well overdue in a town the size of Groblersdal.


Newcastle Corner

30 November 2017 sees the opening of the second phase of Newcastle Corner. This KwaZulu-Natal centre has already been open for a year and Retail Network Services is closely associated with its continuing growth. Situated at the junction of the R43 and Allen St, Newcastle Corner is excellently located at the entrance to KZN’s third largest city. The first phase has proved very successful and the centre is now ripe for further expansion.

In a first for the region, Retail Network Services secured Super Spar for Phase One of the centre with a 2,500m² store. It has now scored yet another first for the region with Dis-Chem, a national leader in retail healthcare, joining the centre as an anchor tenant. Dis-Chem will be opening a 1,200m² store and will form part of an innovative health hub together with a number of health and wellness professionals. Planet Fitness JustGym will be part of this healthy lifestyle area. New eateries in the food area include Debonairs Pizza, Fishaways and ChesaNyama. Nino’s are in the process of looking for a franchisee for an approved location within the mall.


Tibani Shopping Centre

The Tibani area is 70km from Mokopane along the R567 and has almost 170,000 inhabitants but no formal shopping centre. That will all change in August 2018 when Tibani Shopping Centre opens. This new 10,500m² centre is being developed by GMI Property Group with Retail Network Services as leasing specialists.

Alongside the centre the Department of Housing has planned the Juno Demarcation Project with 500 residential plots in the pipeline. There is also a taxi rank close by. This means that the new centre will be a prominent feature of the new community zone and will benefit greatly from its prime position. The centre will be single-level with 52 shops and plenty of parking – almost 400 bays will be available thus allowing easy and convenient access for shoppers.

Shoprite and Cashbuild will be the main anchor tenants. The Shoprite store, designed to be state-of-the-art, will boast a trading area of 3,000m². Ackermans, Jet, Pep and Tekkie Town will be among the fashion and clothing outlets while Furn 4U, Russells and Sleepmasters make up the furnishing offerings available. Pep Cell, AutoZone, AlphaPharm, Alera Hair and Shoprite Liquor are also in line to open. Popular fast food restaurants ChesaNyama, KFC, Debonairs Pizza, Galito’s Chicken and Original Fish and Chips are all confirmed as part of the strong tenant mix.

Gavin Tagg sees Tibani Shopping Centre bringing sorely-needed shopping facilities to the area, and in his own words “providing a safe and pleasant meeting place for the Tibani community”.

Thula Mall h4

Thula Mall in north-east Mpumalanga commences trading in September 2018. It is situated at Thulamahashe in Bushbuckridge Municipality, at the heart of a prominent cluster of villages and acts as a central hub for surrounding settlements and is close to the Kruger National Park.

Thula Mall is being developed by Twin City Development with the expert leasing support of Retail Network Services and the design expertise of Leon Jacobs Architects.

The centre will be a comprehensive community centre with over 60 stores geared to aspirational middle and lower income shoppers. Confirmed fashion retailers include Ackermans, Truworths, Pep, Jet, Identity and Edgars Active together with Rage, Solo Shoes and Studio 88. Shoprite, Shoprite Liquor, Tops Liquor, Super Spar and Roots Butchery are also confirmed to join the tenant mix together with Clicks, OK Furniture and SleepMasters. Autozone, Pep Cell, Fastrak, Razorite Optical and regional brands Sedglo Hair and Beauty and Voice Africa will add further variety to a strong retail offering. Fast food operators Debonairs Pizza, Galitos Chicken and ChesaNyama are on board too.

With its prominent main road visibility, Thula Mall’s location is rated as excellent by research company Fernridge Consulting. It will be the largest retail centre in its immediate area and is ideally located opposite the Thulamahashe Stadium. It is also conveniently surrounded by a collection of local municipal offices, government departments, the Thulamahashe Magistrates Court, a petrol station and education facilities.