By Suren Naidoo
The Ballito Junction Regional Mall on KZN’s North Coast is booming, with twelve million people having visited the centre and spending some R2 billion during its first year of trade.
That’s the word from the mall’s management, who say the iconic young shopping centre is already outperforming industry peers and the market, and has become a firm favourite in Ballito and the greater North Coast.
“The 80,000sqm world-class shopping centre opened on 23 March 2017 and, since then, Ballito Junction has quickly become the darling of shoppers from the Dolphin Coast and also from Durban and beyond… The mall’s figures show that half of its shoppers come from its immediate core catchment area of Ballito and its surrounds, and over one third (34%) come to the mall from the Durban area,” the mall’s management said in a statement.
The figures give a clear indication of how successful Ballito Junction Regional Mall has been, having been launched amid poor economic conditions in South Africa last year. To put it into context, the super-regional Mall of Africa at Waterfall City in Gauteng that’s some 50,000sqm larger, attracted some 15 million shoppers in its first year. Durban’s Gateway Theatre of Shopping, which would have lost some customers from the North Coast due to the Ballito Junction development, attracts some 27 million people annually.
According to Ballito Junction’s management, a breakdown of its Durban shoppers shows that while the Durban city centre is some 62km away from the mall, Durban itself accounts for 16% of Ballito Junction’s shopper market. Around 13% of the mall’s customer “pool drive” the 28kms from Verulam to the new mall, while, Umhlanga, which is 31kms away, represents 4% of its total shoppers.
“Another 12% of Ballito Junction shoppers travel even further to visit this uniquely compelling mall, coming from the Midlands, Zululand and Highway areas. All-in-all, KwaZulu-Natal shoppers make up 77% of Ballito Junction’s customers, but holidaymakers have also flocked to the new mall. Over the last year, Gauteng visitors accounted for 19% of Ballito Junction’s shoppers,” the statement read.
Geraldine Jorgensen, CEO of Ballito Junction, said: “The vision for Ballito Junction was always to be a mall that is designed for and sustained by its regional shoppers, with spend from holidaymakers being a bonus. Our shopper figures show that this has, in fact, proven to be the case. We are very pleased with the positive trends that we are seeing”
With an average of nearly 1 million visitors a month, its best performing month so far was December 2017 when it attracted some 1.4 million shoppers.
The mall is the first regional shopping centre of its scale on the KZN North Coast and is owned and developed by a Gauteng-based investment consortium of Menlyn Maine Investment Holdings and Flanagan & Gerard Property Development & Investment.
“Ballito Junction Regional Mall opened during one of the toughest economic periods South Africa has seen. Despite this, the mall is showing strong trading that is growing from strength to strength… Even after a short time in its markets, Ballito Junction and several of its retailers are outperforming other, more established, comparative retail elsewhere in the region,” said the mall’s management.
The mall’s trading is expected to continue on its upward trajectory. Located at the heart of a burgeoning community, residential developments representing over 3,000 new homes are currently under construction or planned for development in its growing immediate catchment market. A new, multi-million rand private school is also being built near the mall by the Reddam House national private education group.
Jorgensen said: “Ballito Junction’s first year of trading has been remarkable. We are extremely positive about our future and appreciative of the support we are receiving from our wonderful community.”
Redeveloped at a cost of some R1.6 billion, the mall represents a major private investment that benefits its community with increased economic prosperity by creating jobs and keeping retail spend local.
Jorgensen adds: “Looking back on the past year, we have embodied our commitment to making a positive contribution to Ballito and the Dolphin Coast, not only with the best shopping and entertainment, but also by supporting community, cultural, sporting, welfare and business organisations and events. Ballito Junction is incredibly proud to be a member of this community and will continue to lend our support to the area and its people.”
She concludes: “Ballito Junction, the Dolphin Coast, KwaDukuza and the entire iLembe District are becoming a greater focal point in the KwaZulu-Natal province as a place where retail, entertainment, business, and people come together. We are excited about the future and committed to continuing to be an asset that our community can be proud of.”