Shopping malls delighted as shoppers go spending

SHOPPING centres in KwaZulu-Natal are recording high Christmas sales despite the recession.

SHOPPING centres in KwaZulu-Natal are recording high Christmas sales despite the recession.

The Workshop shopping centre in the heart of Durban is always packed with shoppers.

"We take advantage of the busy season," says The Workshop marketing manager Nishtha Sanichur. "We anticipate a busy festive season, with many of our shops offering discounts and various in-store specials and sales."

In November the centre recorded 58 percent growth in shoppers, which equates to 1,7million people.

From the beginning of December The Pavilion Shopping Centre has seen a slight decrease of 3 percent in pedestrian traffic compared with the same period in 2008.

"This is due to the fact that the schools closed a week later this year in preparation for the 2010 World Cup," says Pavilion marketing manager Zenobia Marmania-Ismail.

"This trend was anticipated and we are confident the rest of the season will get busier."

She says to attract shoppers they have put together a unique and fun-filled list of activities.

These include the Enchanted Christmas with Santa Claus and Tinker Belle and a mini-funfair with a Ferris wheel, train and pony rides.

A consumer credit organisation predicts a bleak Christmas , particularly for the retail industry.

A report by PIC Solutions, a specialist credit link solutions company, says: "Though stores are stocking up for Christmas, consumers will not be spending as much as in previous years."

But economic experts are of the view that consumers are spending.

"We must not misinterpret conditions by thinking that people are spending despite the recession. They are spending their savings," says Dumisa Trust chairman Bonke Dumisa.

"Shopping malls are not necessarily busy compared with previous years, but the time of the year allows people to spend since they saved throughout the year." Dumisa says.

"The number of people that visit centres during this period, whether there is an increase or not, must not be justified by the recession."

Meanwhile Statistics SA says South Africa has officially moved out of the recession and has recorded a slight positive growth for the third quarter of 2009.