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Fourways Mall finally launches, becomes the largest shopping centre in SA


After missing several deadlines, the newly redeveloped multi-billion Fourways Mall has finally opened its doors, becoming the largest shopping centre in South Africa.

The mall which has doubled in size, was supposed to open at the end of April but the owners, JSE-listed Accelerate Property Fund decided its new sections will trade starting from 22 August — with the official celebration launch set for next week on the 29th.

Despite depressed consumer spending, developers are bringing more shopping malls to an already saturated market.

At 178,000m², from 85,000m², the Fourways Mall is now larger than Pretoria's Menlyn Park at 169,000m², Sandton City, the 131,000m² Mall of Africa in Waterfall and the 166,636m² Gateway Theatre of Shopping in Durban.

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Fourways Mall now has more than 250 new brands and stores added to the retail mix, offering a staggering total of 450 shops.

The largest original anchor tenants have stayed in the same locations, although all of them have upgraded their stores significantly. Game, Woolworths, Checkers and Dis-Chem are all in the same locations, and Game has an exciting new neighbour in Pick n Pay – with these stores anchoring the mall’s four corners.

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Bearing the mall’s size in mind, each node has been allocated its own playful colour theme, with all signage and lighting in that area – regardless of which floor – referring to that particular node.

This will help shoppers navigate through the new sections of the mall, making it easy to find their way around, and importantly, back to their parking location.

With commercial, residential and mixed-use property in demand, the broader Fourways area continues to create value and deliver opportunity for investors across sectors as it offers a fresh alternative to Gauteng’s older, more crowded nodes.

Mall mania: A bubble waiting to pop

Despite talk of a looming oversupply of shopping malls, commercial property investors continue to pour billions into South Africa's retail property sector.

Analysts have warned South African Retailers to guard against cannibalization — citing bigger centres taking away spend from the weaker centres.

SA’s economic malaise, and the struggles of retailers including Edcon, continues to take its toll on the country’s landlords.

Accelerate Property Fund, which also owns Cedar Square shopping centre in Fourways, reported earnings fell in the year to end-March as it accepted lower rentals to fill space.

Accelerate said while it reduced vacancies to 9%, from 10% a year before, “this came at a cost, including softer rentals to retain tenants, rent-free periods and tenant installations”.

Distributable earnings for the financial year declined 10.8% to R475.7m. Total distributions per share were lowered to 50.97c, from 57.55c previously.

Accelerate said the property sector “will remain under pressure during 2019”.

“Recent retailers’ results echo these sentiments, with consumers’ disposable income still under pressure and overall business sentiment poor.”

Accelerate’s COO Andrew Costa said “the economy speaks for itself – it is very weak and there is low disposable income growth”.