Kenya will have 72 malls and Morocco about 40 in just a few years! If there are just a handful of places on earth, where malls are set for growth, then Africa is among them.
In what many observers call the “mall craze”, almost every capital city has or will have numerous of mega-malls and secondary cities are now planning to host malls.
The African consumer story is too big to miss: galvanized by Africa’s macro-economics, brands, retailers and developers favour a build-first-ask-questions-later approach.
There is just one problem: where are the shoppers?
A finding of my field-research in South Africa, Morocco, Kenya, and DR Congo, is that there are at least three reasons why Africans don’t fall in love with huge shiny malls at every corner.
Read my new piece ‘3 Reasons Why Africans Don’t Spend at Malls: a Lesson for Winning Consumers’ here.
On April 28, midway between Johannesburg and Pretoria, the Mall of Africa opens.
From the beginning, the developers promoted the MOA as an international magnet that will capture shoppers in a five-hour radius from Lagos and Kinshasa to Luanda and Lusaka. On a national scale, MOA defines itself as a new mega destination for shopping, working and living set to attract around 6.7 million people living within an hour drive. In particular MOA targets what it calls “top earners” (senior decision makers, diplomats, business owners), “superior earners” (mid-level execs), and “rising stars” (entrepreneurs, young professionals).
It enters the much coveted category of super regional centres, that’s very large retail facilities offering the widest possible range of stores, products and services. They exceed 100.000 sqm in size (gross leasable area (GLA)) and 250 in the number of stores. They have at least six anchor tenants including clothing, groceries, household goods and entertainment. They also distinguish themselves by new retail concepts and latest advancements in design and architecture. There is only a handful of super regional centres in South Africa, including Sandton City, Centurion Mall and Fourways Mall. MOA sees Sandton City as its main competitor.
By all measures, Sandton City in Johannesburg is the most successful mall in South Africa. It has become so expansive in its offerings over the years that it is now a world-class tourist destination, beyond being Africa’s number one shopping destination.
Here is a quick look at some of the key ingredients of Sandton City success.