SA’s regional shopping malls bounce back: Flanagan & Gerard’s retail portfolio delivers double-digit growth in mid-year turnover

Flanagan & Gerard Property Group’s quality portfolio of shopping centres recorded strong mid-year trading, achieving double-digit turnover growth in June and July, despite a challenging economic environment.

SA’s regional shopping malls bounce back: Flanagan & Gerard’s retail portfolio delivers double-digit growth in mid-year turnover
Ballito Junction interior.

Across all the Flanagan & Gerard shopping centres, turnover growth in June 2022 was up 12% year-on-year, notwithstanding SA’s retail sales moving backwards 2% in the same month.

The portfolio showed even bigger improvements from July 2021 to July 2022, delivering 20% turnover growth. However, this includes the impact of the July 2021 unrest that hampered trading at some malls.

“Regional malls are bouncing back. Footfalls are up year-on-year and moving higher than pre-Covid numbers for the first time, while spend-per-head has increased significantly,” reports Paul Gerard, Managing Director of Flanagan & Gerard.

The trends in the Flanagan & Gerard retail property portfolio paint an exciting and encouraging picture indeed. They also point to a welcome comeback from the trading categories and retailers that were hardest hit by pandemic-related restrictions.

“Our restaurants are trading well and ahead of pre-Covid levels. Cinemas have rebounded and are displaying a similar pattern. Liquor stores are showing massive growth in trading. In our portfolio, we are seeing great results from Edgars’ new management and from Game’s new strategy. It is particularly exciting to see national retailers bringing new brands to market,” says Gerard.

The positive trading metrics in the Flanagan & Gerard retail portfolio speak to the strength of its tenants and its retail centres’ tenant mixes and catchment markets. This is a team that works hard to keep its shopping centres fresh, appealing and relevant for their customers. The portfolio has a low vacancy rate of 0.45%. The portfolio’s trading strength is also reflected in the financial health of the Flanagan & Gerard shopping centre tenants, leading to a very low level of arrears.

The continued reality of load shedding has given malls with backup power a competitive edge in attracting shoppers and reinforced the abundant opportunities for solar-powered shopping malls in South Africa. Flanagan & Gerard aims to have all its retail properties function fully during power disruptions, for which it employs a combination of solar energy and backup generation. Empowering improved trading outcomes, promoting carbon reduction by decreasing fossil-fuelled energy consumption and lightening the load on the national power grid, Flanagan & Gerard will continue to increase the solar power generation capacity at its shopping centres.

Flanagan & Gerard develops and invests in dominant regional shopping centres that retain dominance within their trade areas and high-end niche community centres. It co-owns Ballito Junction Regional Mall in KwaZulu-Natal as well as Morningside Shopping Centre, Springs Mall and Vaal Mall in Gauteng, together with Highveld Mall and Middelburg Mall in Mpumalanga, and Thavhani Mall, Musina Mall, Great North Plaza and Mall of the North in Limpopo. Its esteemed track record also includes numerous retail properties developed for other leading investors.

Flanagan and Gerard’s new shopping centre, the 24,000sqm Boardwalk Mall, is due to open on 22 September 2022, to become the new home of world-class convenience and entertainment in Summerstrand, Gqeberha, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Eastern Cape. Boardwalk Mall is a major development by Flanagan & Gerard Group and Emfuleni Resorts, a subsidiary of Sun International.