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Retail Insider in South Africa: Menlyn Park Shopping Centre Tour

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By Lee Rivett and Craig Patterson

Retail Insider’s Lee Rivett recently visited Johannesburg, South Africa, touring two of the country’s leading shopping centres. This two-part series highlights each shopping centre and Sandton City’s edition was published earlier in the month. Part one of the series detailed the visit to the Sandton Retail Node (spanning 170,939 square metres) in Johannesburg, which consisted of a combination of Sandton City (141,390 square metres), Nelson Mandela Square (16,265 square metres), Legacy Corner (7,000 square metres) and Michelangelo Towers Mall (6,284 square metres).

In our second edition, Retail Insider continued slightly north to Pretoria, a city approximately 55 km north of Johannesburg, which is home to the recently renovated Menlyn Park Shopping Centre (spanning 177,000 square metres). The shopping centre was the second largest mall in South Africa, Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, beat out in the retail space category by only 1,000m² by Fourways Mall in Johannesburg after it completed its latest renovation in August 2019.

Major South African Retailers

Most Canadians are familiar with typical anchor tenants in Canadian shopping malls as many of us have frequented Hudson’s Bay, Nordstrom, La Maison Simons, Saks Fifth Avenue other retailers. For comparison to the South African retail marketplace, the following major retailers are present (CBRE):

DOMESTIC FOOD RETAILERS IN SOUTH AFRICA
DOMESTIC NON-FOOD RETAILERS IN SOUTH AFRICA
  • Non-Food (Domestic South African Retailers): Woolworths (SA: 218 – Woolworths Fashion, Beauty and Home; 82 – Country Road Group), Foschini Group (2,458 – TFG stores in SA), Edcon (Total stores in Southern Africa; 203 – Edgars Division; 686 – Jet Division; 177 – CNA), JD Group (857 – Total stores in SA), Pepkor (5,100 – Total stores in Africa), Truworths Group (813 – Corporate stores in SA), Mr Price Group (1,157 – Total stores in SA) and Mass Mart (381 – Total stores in SA).

  • Non-Food (International Retailers in South Africa): Le Coq Sportif, Campo Marzio, Inglot, Premier by Dead Sea, Forever New, Gucci, Gant, Louis Vuitton, Guess, Timberland, Lacoste, Zara, Zara Home, Lush, Cotton On, Nespresso, Carvela Shoes, Tiger of Sweden, The Kooples, Aldo, Factorie, Fabiani, Hamleys, Forever 21, Burberry, Bvlgari, Prada, H&M, Michael Kors, Under Armour, Urban Decay, TED Baker, Christian Dior, Cartier, Bang & Olufsen.

The ‘rand’ (also known as ZAR) is the official currency in South Africa. To provide a bit currency context, the cost of a pair of jeans is 800.00 ZAR and the cost of a cup of coffee is 30.00 ZAR.

Menlyn Park Shopping Centre (Pretoria, South Africa)

MENLYN PARK EXTERIOR. PHOTO: ELOCATIONS

Menlyn Park Shopping Centre is a shopping mall situated in Pretoria, South Africa, and is situated adjacent to Johannesburg to the north. The centre was originally built in 1979 and has undergone two renovations and expansions. Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, owned by Pareto Limited, completed its latest renovation in 2016 becoming the largest shopping mall in Africa with 173,500 m² (1,867,538 square feet) of retail and 500 stores.  The GLA of the existing centre prior to redevelopment was 117,940 m² (1,269,495 square feet).

The design of Menlyn Park revolves around a number of iconic spaces – the Food Court, the new keyhole malls, a new main entrance and a large internal garden square “Central Park” which is surrounded by restaurants. While Sandton City may promote itself as a premier shopping centre for international and well-heeled visitors, Menlyn Mall has been termed as a “super regional shopping centre” with over 500 stores and at least 37 restaurants and 1.9 million square feet of retail space.

Any tour of Menlyn Mall would not be complete without mentioning the centre’s trademark tensile fabric roof which covers its grand hall. Akin to the travelling ‘Cirque du Soleil’ performance tents or Vancouver Harbour’s iconic convention centre, the fabric membrane spans the entire length of the mall and curves along a custom latticework of steel and cable forming a series of “peaks and valleys”.

RENDERINGS FOR MENLYN PARK AT NIGHT. PHOTO: ROBIN
GRAND HALL UNDER THE TENSILE FABRIC ROOF. PHOTO: LEE RIVETT

Appealing to the regional visitors, Menlyn Park does not have the luxury offerings of Santon Centre such as Louis Vuitton, Burberry and so on. Menlyn Park targets a more mid-market consumer with retailers such as:

  • Fashion: Bellissima, Identity, La Senza, Twill, Timerland, Armani Exchange, Billabong, G-Star, Guess, H&M, Hugo Boss, Hurley, Levi’s, Pringle of Scotland, Queenspark, Quicksilver, Tommy Hilfigher and Zara.

  • Sportwear: Adidas, Le Coq Sportiff, Mr. Price Sport, Nike, Puma, Under Armour and Totalsports

  • Footwear: Aldo, Converse, Crocs, Hush Puppies, Palladium, Steve Maden, Skechers and Vans

  • Children: Hamleys, Build a Bear, Lego and Toys R Us

  • Jewellery: Folli Follie, Daniel Wellington, Pandora, Swarovski, Thomas Sabo, Tissot

  • Specialty: Sunglass Hut

National retailers also in the shopping centre include Edgars, Pick ‘n Pay, Truworths and Woolworths.

PHOTO: BILD ARCHITECTS

The variety of retail is dispersed through the mall corridors is remarkable. In addition to the grand hall with its tensile fabric roof, the green design of the central courtyard for perfect for special events and outdoor enjoyment.

Another key area for Menlyn Park Shopping Centre is “Central Park”. The green space located in the centre of the mall is surrounded by restaurants and seating areas. During normal business hours, the gathering place is enjoyed for sharing meals and enjoying the sunshine with the grass spaces.

Central Park also has the ability to serve as host to special events (like music concerts) or paid promotions (like auto dealership promotions).

We hope that you have enjoyed Retail Insider this two-part tour of South Africa shopping centers while visiting the country. Let us know what you think, any questions you may have about the comparisons, or if you would like to see more comparisons with international centers.

Note about COVID-19: The Republic of South Africa instituted a national lockdown for 21 days (between March 27, 2020 and April 16, 2020) to fight the spread of the coronavirus and it has now been extended until the end of April. While Retail Insider was onsite in January 2020, the retail centres are participating in the national shutdown and are only offering essential services such as supermarkets, pharmacies and other essential items.

South Africa is also planning to implement a national curfew starting May 1 as it begins easing its lockdown. Bloomberg reported:

  • The pandemic and a lockdown that came into effect on March 27 to contain spread has compounded the nation’s woes, with the central bank anticipating a 6.1% contraction in gross domestic product this year
  • Prior to the onset of the coronavirus, Africa’s most industrialized economy was already grappling with a 29% unemployment rate and was stuck in its longest downward cycle since World War II — a slump that largely stemmed from nine years of misrule by former leader Jacob Zuma, who left office in 2018.
AERIAL VIEW OF MENLYN CENTRE. PHOTO: BILD ARCHITECTS

Article Author

Lee Rivett
Lee Rivetthttps://retail-insider.com
Lee Rivett, based in Vancouver, supports the digital distribution and technical backend operations of Retail Insider. This includes providing technical support for the editors during the digital publication cycle, streamlining virtual tools for the cross-country team and a variety of other duties which keeps the publication running smoothly.

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