Nelson Mandela Bay’s newest shopping and entertainment destination, Baywest Mall, put itself firmly on the map this festive season, setting record trading figures for the month of December.
The mall, which opened its doors in May last year, counted a total footfall of 832 958 for December, equating to a 26% increase on the previous benchmark achieved in its first month of trade.
“We couldn’t have asked for a more successful opening festive season,” said Baywest marketing manager Samantha Hewitson.
“The numbers, in terms of both foot traffic and turnover, exceeded our expectations.”
Hewitson said many of the mall’s tenants had also reached individual highs, with most achieving between a 200 and 300% increase on the previous month’s trade.
Ster-Kinekor at Baywest, in particular, was consistently among the top 10 performing movie theatres countrywide.
“From a mall perspective, we saw an overall increase of 29% in foot traffic compared to November,” said Hewitson. She added that shoppers rushed to make last-minute purchases on Christmas Eve, resulting in the busiest trading day with 40 581 feet through the doors.
“While many tourists visited the mall, contributing to the increase in feet and spend, we believe the Bay market also realised the wide offering and convenience of shopping at Baywest Mall.”
The city’s Business Chamber has welcomed the boost to the city’s coffers from festive season tourism and retail spend.
“While the troubled rand will severely impact on manufacturing and imports in at least the first few months of 2016, tourism and retail spend in Nelson Mandela Bay over the festive season has indeed boosted the city’s coffers,” said Business Chamber CEO Kevin Hustler.
He said the Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism office and member companies in the tourism sector had reported an increase in trade over the festive season. This was particularly due to domestic tourists finding travelling within the country more affordable than travelling overseas, he said.
“Nelson Mandela Bay lived up to its reputation as being a favourite family tourist destination in South Africa this festive season, with many locals flocking to our beaches, the Boardwalk as well as the new Baywest Mall. Specific statistics on the number of tourists visiting the city are still being collated.”