Port Elizabeth: A new trend to Eastern Cape retail – that of late-night shopping – appears to have been key to ensuring that the province’s largest mall experienced its best holiday trading since opening in mid-2015.
With the new school year firmly underway, Baywest Mall general manager Troy Zunckel announced that the mall’s decision to open its retailers’ doors until 9pm leading up to Christmas had been the right move. Then mall’s entertainment wing and restaurants stayed open until late.
“Despite the challenging macro-economic conditions, there was an encouraging increase in our foot traffic, with positive year-on-year growth compared to the same time last year. Christmas Eve was our busiest day, registering 12% year-on-year growth,” said Zunckel.
“Baywest Mall’s extended trading hours, the longest in the region, saw 30% of our footfall come from late-night shopping. The perfect weather meant visitors were able to maximise their beach time and take advantage of evening shopping and entertainment at Baywest.”
Zunckel said there were more pleasant surprises lined up for shoppers this year. This comes in the wake of the mall opening 15 new stores in 2016.
“Shoppers can look forward to some new brands and more firsts for the region in 2017. There are also some exciting growth plans on the cards for Baywest City, the live-work-play development that surrounds the mall,” he said.
From an operational perspective, Zunckel said Baywest Mall was proud to have experienced an “incident-free Festive Season”.
“This was in large part thanks to our partnership with SAPS, which included 10 graduate constables patrolling the mall at all times and an in-house satellite police station. We also had visits from both the provincial and national police commissioners in December.
“Because of our key position along the N2 national road, Baywest Mall provided a landing pad for the metro medical helicopter and also acts as a base for a private ambulance service. As the largest mall in the Eastern Cape, a lot of planning goes into these service partnerships to ensure that residents and visitors to our city have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.”
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