Mall Indaba a huge success
The inaugural Mall Indaba held in Sandton recently was well received by delegates and the shopping centre industry as a whole.
Organised by CADEK Media, the two-day conference addressed all aspects of mall management, operations and marketing and was well attended by mall managers, owners, marketers and suppliers to the mall and retail industries.
Fourteen speakers addressed the conference on a wide variety of topics including the latest shopping centre trends, threats and opportunities.
Belinda Clur, Managing Director of Clur Research International opened the conference with an insightful overview on the Impact of the Economy as well as current Shopping Centre and Retail Trends. She said that conflicting and contrasting economic and retail trends now emerging require careful crafting from the shopping centre perspective.
The retail sector has shown considerable stamina amidst the broader economic slowdown over the last year. The Clur Retail Risk Indicator, part of Retail Live, an interpretive early warning system for shopping centres, showed a reduction in shopping centre risk over 2015 as mall space worked harder, driven by better use of space and most notably the impact of strategic tenant mix, sizing and product mix to correct under-performing space dynamics. Thus shopping centre managers and retailers are adapting to fast changing consumer dynamics.
Dirk Nico Prinsloo from Urban Studies added that with slower economic growth expected in South Africa over the next two to three years it is expected that a number of new retail developments planned will only enter the market in 2019 or later. Redevelopment opportunities will however gain momentum especially in established residential markets. Detailed market research will be critical for future retail developments especially with regards to the positioning of the new facilities.
The message from speakers at the Indaba was crystal clear: Malls need to be innovative in their approach to the management and marketing of their centres in order to ensure good foot traffic and to stay competitive.
Adrian Morris, COO of Design Partnership, said that Malls need to start transacting in culture, experiences and relationships. They need to become the hub for citizens, communities and tribes alike through re-imagining themselves as marketplaces for relationships, by offering complementary services and experiences that go well beyond products.
While utility and relevance form a solid foundation, malls must strive to deliver more, to truly capture the hearts and minds of today’s shopper. By tapping into an ecosystem of partners and citizens, they can create a powerful halo effect, generating value for all who participate.
Mall Indaba aims to be the annual meeting place where shopping centre management teams can gather to learn about the latest trends and opportunities in their industry. The conference also includes discussions on industry threats and challenges and sparks new ideas for shopping centres. A must attend event for the industry.
The next Mall Indaba will be held on 13 & 14 March 2017 at the Maslow Hotel in Sandton.