…Shopaholics explain their love for shopping malls
The mall culture has become big business in Namibia, with several multimillion dollar establishments coming into being in recent years.
Generally, the trend of investing in shopping malls have become synonymous with Africa due to the huge investment drive in the construction sector with Namibia being no exception.
Shopaholics have welcomed the mushrooming of shopping malls in Windhoek, with many stating that shopping in malls over free standing shops has an advantage when it comes to saving time, energy and petrol.
Shopping malls often accord shoppers a ‘huge basket’ filled with a variety of outlets ranging from food, furniture, clothing, technology, building material, banks and outlets of convenience all under one roof.
In fact, for those who do not own cars, hopping from shop to shop in a mall is much more convenient.
Some of the reasons cited by shoppers are such as the fact that malls have a variety of shops ranging from clothing, groceries as well as hardware shops.
Malls in Namibia have become the new catch word and new frontier for many global commercial enterprises given its expanding middle class and its insatiable appetite for every form of goods and services.
Everything is accessible from the same place. “I don’t have to take a cab to go from one shop to another; malls are good provided that they are accessible to the people as well.” Adelheid Blasius said.
Some shoppers have however expressed resentment over the fact that malls are far from residential areas where most of the populace resides.
“Grove Mall is very far and one has to take a taxi all the way from Katutura, there is no taxi rank so we have to pay N$30 dollars.’’ Blasius said.
Another teenager Claudine Boois who says she loves shopping at a mall described a mall as a box of chocolate. “Shopping at the mall is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re going to get.” Many shoppers go the mall not knowing what they are going to get. “It is exciting finding that special gift, discovering your favorite designer is on sale, seeing the latest fashion and so much more, she said.”
Malls provide employment from the time of construction to the opening stage.
Nadine Kooper, who also prefers doing her shopping at shopping malls, said it is convenient because everything is in one place.
“Where else can you buy a flat screen TV, a new wardrobe and a delicious pretzel under one roof?” They were the best after-school hang out. Whether your career kept you in the fashion industry or not, plenty of us earned our first paychecks stocking the back room at a department store.
Africa’s shopping mall business
Almost a third of European retailers view Africa as an important future destination in the next three to five years, leading real estate advisor, CBRE revealed recently.
In a recent report, the global commercial real estate services and investment firm surveyed the expansion plans of 115 leading retailers. Over the next five years, a third see Africa as extremely or very important retail destination with 28% of respondents viewing South Africa, Egypt (19%) and Nigeria (16%) as key priority markets.
The biggest mall in Africa recently opened in Midrand, South Africa with more than 300 outlets. The 131,038sqm is the largest first phase completion of a mall in Africa.
A recent study by CBRE confirms these facts and shows that the African market has begun to receive growing interest from European retailers with South Africa being at the top of the list. The combined effect of China’s slowing economy and a growing middle class has made constructing malls in Africa attractive but the shortcomings surrounding infrastructure has made timing altogether uncertain.
One of the main disadvantages of the malls is drawbacks. These include overcrowding, especially on weekends and holidays. Sometimes it seems that everyone has the same idea and goes to the mall. The corridors and crowded stores make shopping very difficult.
Parking can also be a problem when the mall is very busy and criminals often target shopping malls during busy times due to the crowd volumes.
Some embraced the fact that it can be a social experience to be shared with friends and family that can only be done at a shopping mall.