Editor’s note… What recession?

What recession?

John Thomé

John Thomé

In this harsh economic climate, isn’t it refreshing to see that the retail sector, in particular shopping malls large and small, continue to grow and prosper?

Consider the range of shopping centres and malls either currently under construction or being refurbished, or having been recently completed – the list, and its relative contribution to our economy at various levels – is indeed significant:

Construction and finishing of the iconic Mall of Africa has just been completed, and opened amidst great fanfare in April; expansion of Fourways Mall will double its size within the next two years; the recently refurbished Eastgate Mall as well as East Rand Mall (which is also being renamed East Point Mall); Cresta; The Pavilion in KwaZulu-Natal; Century City; Ballito Junction; Blue Route Mall in 2014; Rustenburg’s Waterfall Mall; and Kyalami Corner now under construction, to name a few. The list is seemingly endless – and let’s not forget those under construction in the rest of Africa.

This is not a new trend or phenomenon, but one that has been ongoing for decades. Cyclic in nature, property owners take advantage of the current low cost of construction – and plan new malls and revamps accordingly in these tough times.

Whilst this is no panacea for our ailing construction sector, it is certainly an encouraging indicator in terms of investor confidence at development level, as well as retail operation level with home brands coming to the party all the way, and with new international brands demonstrating their confidence by opening up in South Africa.

Let’s hope that this thread of continued growth and success in retail development and operation forms the catalyst to spin off confidence across our economic spectrum.

That said, I wish to thank Bernadette for her outstanding work in bringing Shopping and Retail SA to such great heights. We wish her every success in her new endeavours.

It’s certainly exciting to be back in the vibrant field of shopping and retail.

John