Recent redevelopment and refurbishment projects at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, are paying off handsomely with the property registering phenomenal retail sales growth during a time considered to be highly challenging for the broader South African retail sector.
The V&A Waterfront reported yesterday retail sales growth of 20.6% in December 2013. “This marks 29 straight months of consistent growth since August 2011, and concludes 2013 with an impressive 19.8% year-on-year growth,” said management in a statement.
But then the V&A Waterfront does not make for a suitable comparison with the broader retail sector due to its unique features.
Management note this in saying “the V&A Waterfront is a unique property in that the visitor experience is so varied.”
V&A Waterfront CEO David Green said ‘’We believe the benefits of the yearlong redevelopment and refurbishment projects have paid off in strong trading and increased visitor numbers across the business.”
Our trading densities reflect a similar growth to that of the retail trade results. If we exclude new developments, such as the 6 500 square metre Pick n Pay, we still reflect a 14% year-on-year growth.’’
Management reported that annual visitor numbers, measured on Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre, were up 7% with a peak of 175 000 visitors per day on 31 December. An increase of more than 9% in car numbers was also seen in 2013. The property overall has seen a marked increase in visitation with the addition of attractions such as the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum, Jou Ma Se Comedy Club and the Da Vinci Exhibition. The Market on the Wharf continues to be a popular fresh food attraction for visitors.
Green said ‘’We anticipated strong trade over the holiday period as we welcomed local and international visitors to Cape Town. If we look at the categories that have shown the most exponential growth, sales are reflective of the diverse visitor profile we see during this period. ‘’
Yesterday’s statement also noted that between November and January, the V&A Waterfront will have hosted 145 different events, from free summer sunset concerts to children’s entertainment and a new format New Year’s Eve party. Numerous new retailers and restaurants have opened, giving people an opportunity for repeat visits to experience what is new and different. This year alone saw the introduction of, amongst others, Top Shop, Tiger of Sweden, Cotton on Kids, Mamas & Papas, @Home Living Space, Victoria’s, tashas, Mondiall, Bukhara and Haiku.
Green said the retail expansion that started in March 2013 will continue into 2014 when the 3000 square metre space previously occupied by Pick n Pay is reconfigured to introduce Mr Price and Cotton On.
A number of new brands will be welcomed in 2014. Locally designed shoe brand Tsonga will open a pop up space, while luxury brand Longchamp, and Australian brands Witchery & Mimco are also set to open in the second quarter of 2014.
The announcement of a R50 million commitment to the redevelopment of its enterprise development platform, the Blue Shed Craft Market and Wellness Centre, comes as a meaningful year-on-year growth of 24% in small business was confirmed.
‘’Our dedication to small business lies in our commitment to providing a platform for entrepreneurs. Small business represents a small percentage of our total business but with this investment we are affirming our belief in the power of creative industries. Significant growth seen in this segment is positive for future job creation, ’’ said Green.