National retailers are flocking into the expanded Pan Africa Shopping Centre in Alexandra, a township located north of Johannesburg.
The Pan Africa Shopping Centre has undergone a major refurbishment and expansion three years after it was launched displaying the robustness of retail markets in underdeveloped areas of South Africa and in particular traditional black townships. Gracing the launch of the expanded development were national retailers Mr Price, Truworths and Edgars Active who opened who opened their outlets to customers this week.
When it was launched in 2009, the Pan Africa Shopping Centre formed part of a wave of retail property developments that has graced traditionally black urban areas of South Africa. Such developments sprung all over the show with the R650m Maponya Mall in Soweto a crown. The impact of these developments is a subject of debate but there have been concerns that they have opened the flood gates for national retailers to invade township markets thus leading to the demise of small scale traders. Observers have pointed out that consumers will not be complaining as they are benefiting from a much improved competitive retail environment.
The shopping centre was launched as part of the multi-billion rands Presidential Alexandra Renewal Project. It is owned by Pan Africa DevCo, a company formed by Tebfin Developments in partnership with local entrepreneurs and the two main taxi associations in Alexandra, being ATA and ARMSTA.
“Pan Africa Shopping Centre has surpassed all expectations. Further, it has become a strong catalyst for further new investment and development in its community,” said Tebogo Mogashoa of Tebfin.
Bandile Nyembe, Pan Africa Shopping Centre Manager, says the new expansion creates increased retail variety which will go even further to meet the consumer needs of Alexandra residents, and everyone who shops at this commuter retail centre. “We’re proud to give customers even more choice, value and one-stop shopping,” reports Nyembe.
In a pioneering initiative, the centre was the first of its kind in SA, built with fully integrated public transport. It includes a 50,000sqm taxi facility.
“Pan Africa Shopping Centre has successfully delivered top-notch shopping. National retailers are taking note of the centre’s success and see the mall as an all-important key to access this increasingly valuable market,” explains Gavin Tagg of Retail Network Services which handled the leasing.
Owners said the shopping centre continues to report increased turnovers for tenants. Pedestrian and taxi traffic were also showing an upward trend with more than 50000 people using the area daily, as well as some 1,500 taxis.
“Based on this, we plan to expand Pan Africa Shopping Centre again in the near future. We will grow with community and retailer needs,” said Mogashoa.