Retailers, malls gearing up for last-minute shoppers

The days between December 16 and 23 are usually bumper trading days but factors like the weather and long weekends can have an effect on trends.
The days between December 16 and 23 are usually bumper trading days but factors like the weather and long weekends can have an effect on trends.
Image: 123RF/mangostar

South African malls are expecting a flurry of festive season shoppers to descend on their stores just before Christmas.

The South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) conducted a snap survey among the country’s busiest malls and found that while Black Friday was a busy trading day, most are anticipating brisk business in the second half of December. The busiest days are likely to be just before Christmas.

Preston Gaddy, general manager of Sandton City, Johannesburg, said the days  between December 16 and 23 were usually "bumper trading days" - but this was dependent on factors like weather and long weekends.

Julie-Anne Zuma, marketing manager of the Pavilion, Durban, said the mall’s consumer influx normally commenced from December 14.

"We always seem to accommodate our last-minute shoppers in the couple of days preceding December 25 - but we do usually note a significant increase the moment schools close for the holidays. Our peak trading times will be from the weekend pre-Christmas," said Zuma.

Karla Linder, marketing manager for Table Bay Mall, Cape Town, said there had already been an increase in footfall at the centre.

"This is sure to increase further from December 14 as we offer our extended shopping hours. As per shopping mall trends throughout the world and South Africa, the festive season always creates a very successful shopping environment."

Despite this, political-economist Daniel Silke expects that "retail will be under strain this Christmas as shoppers digest a tough year where utility costs and interest rates have squeezed disposable income further".

He said there was some relief in the drop in the petrol price "although the longer-term pressures are more likely to have a dampening effect than allow for splurges".

"Consumers will be looking again at value-related purchases and gifts - so retailers catering to that market segment will be less affected," he said.

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