A new study conducted by MSCI on behalf of the South African Council of Shopping Centres looked at the number of shopping centres in South Africa.
According to the data, as of July 2017 there was an estimated 23.4 million square meters of gross lettable area across 1,959 individual shopping centre.
However this number is already slightly outdated, with the South African retail development pipeline measuring 1.9 million square metres across 68 centres at the time of the reports publication – the bulk of which are due to be completed in 2018.
This means that the country is likely to, or has already moved past 2,000 total centres.
The researchers found that around 69% of the aggregate shopping centre floor space can be attributed to multi-tenanted centres with gross lettable areas of 5,000 to 49,000 square meters whilst Regional and Super Regional malls (those larger than 50,000 square meters) account for 22% of total shopping centre gross lettable area.
Other retail types account for the balance of around 9%. These include big-box retailers, airport retail as well as smaller freestanding and local convenience centres.
The data also indicates that the South African shopping centre market size of 23.4 million square meters ranks it in eighth position among the forty-three countries forming part of this analysis – just behind Australia and France.
The top three countries in terms of shopping centre supply – the US, China and Canada – contribute a combined 77% to the overall figure.
South Africa compared to to other countries
For the 2016 to 2017 measurement period, the South African market had 418 square meters of the shopping centre lettable area for every 1,000 people.
This places South Africa below the weighted average of 485 square meters per 1,000 capita measured across the 43 markets forming part of the analysis.
The US is rated as having the most shopping centres relative to its population with 2,196 square meters/1,000 capita – followed by Canada, Australia and Norway.
However South Africa, Canada and the US have the highest level of shopping centre supply expressed relative to household consumption expenditure.
The researchers noted that these three countries also have a higher level of demand than other nations, suggesting more room for development and for supply to be absorbed.
Despite this demand, South Africa’s current shopping centre development pipeline suggests a slowdown in new mall completions for the period 2018-2020 which, combined with a predicted improvement in economic growth, may see South Africa’s shopping centre segment move lower and closer to the global average.