Besides the convenience of comprehensive festive shopping under one-roof, shoppers flocked to the Middelburg Mall to take advantage of its longer shopping hours during the festive season, resulting in the highest trade figures since its opening. Shoppers increased by nearly 38% in December 2012, with an average increase in turnover of 48%.
The regional mall's busiest holiday shopping day was Friday, December 21 when Middelburg Mall was open until 9pm. Almost 30 000 shoppers visited the centre on this record trading day.
Middelburg Mall Centre Manager Mike Tammadge says, "Extended shopping times during the festive season gave shoppers all-important convenience, which is reflected in the support received. In fact, many of our retailers have suggested trading even longer next festive season, especially in the morning. There were queues outside shop doors before opening in the morning."
Electronics topped sales list
Top on shoppers' Christmas lists were electronic goods, with fashion also in high demand. "Retailers offering fashion recorded record sales. Jewellery, sportswear, outdoor and electronic goods experienced phenomenal trading. In some cases, retailers met monthly targets as early as mid-December."
Books and stationery retailers also traded exceptionally well. Children posted thousands of letters in Santa's post-box at Middelburg Mall. The most asked-for gifts were PlayStations, Xboxes and Barbie dolls.
The mall's magnificent Christmas decor proved a major holiday attraction. It even inspired the executive mayor Michael Masina to get into the festive spirit, arriving at the mall for photographs, dressed in a Santa Suit.
Planning keeps centre safe, clean
Precision planning underlies effective festive retail trade and the mall mounted a successful campaign to manage this peak shopping period. "Keeping the centre clean and safe was a stand-out priority for the management team. We boosted operations and added security. There were no major security incidents. This is quite an achievement given the number of shoppers and transactions."
He points to some interesting emerging shopping trends, "The South African shopper profile is changing and Sundays are becoming a prime shopping day. Our appealing mix of retailers, clean and safe environment and entertainment all support shoppers spending more time at the mall. Besides creating an enjoyable experience for shoppers, it also benefits our retailers," he concludes.