Mall of Africa is South Africa’s largest shopping mall ever built in a single phase, with 131,000 square metres of retail space.
It opens its doors today, 28 April, and will be home to over 300 shops – many of which are flagship stores.
The mall’s opening also takes South Africa closer to 2,000 malls countrywide. Currently there are approximately 1,785 malls.
This is up from approximately 1,600 shopping centres larger than 2,000 square metres in 2012, according to a report published by Urban Studies.
Almost 75% of all shopping centres are located in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, the shopping centre and property research company said.
The growth in population numbers, income, and expenditure levels resulted in an
increase in the shopping centre floor area from 4 million square metres to more than 23 million square metres.
Township and rural centres have increased to almost 300, while the number of centres larger than 30,000 square metres increased from 36 in 1994 to 160 in 2014.
Mall of Africa is not the only major retail development in the province, as Fourways Mall is currently under construction and aims to be the second largest mall in the country.
The project is being built through Accelerate properties, which will see the expansion of Fourways Mall – joining with other centres in the area – to cover 175,000 square metres under one roof.
Gateway, in Durban, still commands the top spot as the biggest mall in South Africa – and Africa – at 220,000 square metres, however.
According to Dirk Prinsloo, managing manager of Urban Studies, South Africa has the sixth most number of shopping centres, behind only the US, Japan, Canada, the UK, and China.
Urban Studies noted that the retail and wholesale sector is the third largest economic sector, contributing ±15% to the GDP of the country.
The shopping centre industry has more than 600,000 permanent jobs with another 500,000 jobs indirectly involved in the shopping centre industry.
Metropolitan centres represent 66% of the total, cities 11%, towns almost 20%, and rural areas 4%, it said in a report.
The dwell time in the different centres also varies according to the size and type of shopping centres, the report said. The dwell time in neighbourhood centres, mainly driven by convenience purchases, is between 30 and 40 minutes per trip, while the dwell time for regional and super regional centres is more than 2 hours.
The average number of visitors to super-regional centres varies between 40,000 and 60,000 during weekdays, and between 70,000 and 80,000 on weekends.