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Tag: Shopping Malls

SA malls empty as stores await #BlackFriday customers

Black Friday started off particularly slowly across SA as store managers waited with bated breath for customers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

A few Johannesburg early birds were left disappointed as the stores at the Mall of Africa remained closed shortly after midnight.

They resorted to window shopping.

Shoppers were wearing face masks in line with Covid-19 protocols.

At Durban’s Pavilion Mall stores were open but customers were few and far between.

It was also a quiet start to the Black Friday sales for Cape Town shoppers at Canal Walk, who formed a short line before entering one of the stores.

Pleasure Masina, a store manager at one of the stores at Atlyn mall in Atteridgeville, Pretoria, was disappointed by the turnout.  Masina said she was expecting a large number of people at the doors when they opened.

“We woke up early and got here at 6am so that we can open at 7am,” she said, adding they would close the store at 7pm.

“We are very disappointed because now it’s already 7am and there are no customers yet. We are hoping that they are still coming,” she said, as they needed to make sales to offset their costs. “Our budget is too high,” she said.

Voices calling out specials and staff ringing hand-held bells at the doors echoed through the Atlyn mall on Friday morning.

But there were no queues.

One shopper, Hellen Matlala, was disappointed to find her preferred store closed. “I woke up at 6am and arrived here at 7am. I was expecting to find it open because I am going to work at 8am, but it was closed,” she said.

Matlala said she would not be visiting other stores, because of her observance of Covid-19 protocols. “I was just here for one thing that I need, that’s it,” she said.

 

The busiest shopping malls during Black Friday in South Africa

Data analytics company Lightstone has published data around Black Friday shopping trends in South Africa and what to expect in 2020.

The group reported a 35% increase in overall shopping activity compared to that of a normal month-end on Black Friday 2019 – with a similar pattern observed in 2018.

Black Friday 2019 coincided with the end of the month (29 November), as opposed to 2018 when Black Friday occurred a week before month-end on 23 November – allowing for different shopping behaviours between both years.

“Our conclusion was that there was an additional uplift in activity during 2019 when Black Friday behaviour and month-end shopping behaviour was combined,” said Linda Reid from Lightstone.

Aggregated and anonymised data from vehicle tracking company Tracker, showed that during the previous two years, shopping destinations were busier two days before Black Friday compared to other normal weekdays.

“With many retailers offering ‘Black Month’ discounts in 2020, it will be interesting to compare the entire month’s activity to that of previous years,” Reid said.

Lightstone’s data show that Gateway in KZN saw the most traffic on Black Friday 2019, however it is also the mall which sees the most traffic during a typical month-end.

By comparison, Menlyn Park Shopping Centre in Pretoria shot up to second place (from 6th) compared to its traditional month-end traffic, with Mall of Africa in Johannesburg moving to third.

Lightstone’s data shows that bigger shopping malls enjoyed a 35% lift, compared to smaller shopping destinations where an uplift of only 10% was seen.

Michael du Preez, executive of product and marketing at Tracker South Africa, said that rural towns saw some of the biggest proportional increases which could be attributed to the fact that residents in these areas have limited access to ecommerce sites.

“Although the shopper volumes may be lower than in cities, the increase in shoppers was notable nonetheless,” he said.

Du Preez said that towns that swelled most in comparison to normal behaviour included Louis Trichardt, Lichtenburg, City of Matlosona outskirts, Msinga outskirts, Bela-Bela, and outskirts of Dihlabeng.

“After we’ve seen the retail industry weather some serious blows during lockdown, shoppers appear to be returning to visiting malls as frequently as they did before lockdown,” said Reid.

Lightstone reported previously that during the hard lockdown period, shoppers opted for smaller neighbourhood centres (or strip malls) instead of larger shopping centres.

However, this is not the case with current patterns, and according to Reid there is no reason to anticipate the same for Black Friday.

Black Friday has always kicked off the Christmas spending spree with mall activity post-Black Friday constantly being higher than the weeks before, Reid said.

“Retailers have indicated that consumers should expect unprecedented discounts this year, although it is still unknown whether the severe effects of lockdown will influence consumer spend.”

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Tame Communications (known as tameTIMES) was established in 1997. This long-established popular community title includes the key shopping centres:  Alberton City, Mall...

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