Property Flash


April 19 2024 17:25

Attacq, the leading real estate investment trust (Reit), which is the majority owner of Mall of Africa, was a shining light over the last two months of 2023, with the group’s “retail experience hubs” achieving stellar numbers.

The group saw its performance metrics improve throughout 2023 and its retail experience hubs which include numerous shopping malls and supporting multi-use real estate capped of the year in style.

Over the 2023 festive season, Attacq’s retail hubs achieved improvements in both turnover and foot count compared with the 2022 festive season. As South African consumers have recovered from the pandemic they have regained their confidence in shopping at quality retail centres. The best centres across SA are competing with one another for visitors and shoppers. South Africa ranks among the top 10 countries with the most malls per capita; we really are spoilt for choice. This has meant that landlords and mall managers have had to adapt their strategies to remain popular and generate steady returns.

Attacq has not held back in its efforts to offer excellent experiences at its retail hubs. These hubs have evolved thanks to the implementation of an effective strategy which is evident in the numbers it reports. People visit Attacq’s shopping centres because there are wide ranges of tenants within them which guarantee enjoyable and varied experiences.

Mall of Africa

Attacq has implemented operational methods which merge technology, human relationships, and traditional real estate agreements to make processes more efficient.

The group’s flagship retail experience is hub is Mall of Africa, which at 131,000 m2 is the largest shopping centre built in one phase in the country. It opened in April 2016, about two-and-a-half years after Attacq listed in October 2013.

This key super-regional retail experience hub draws a range of people, including families, twenty-somethings who thirst for cocktails and live music and office workers who go for coffee breaks, visit health and beauty services and who buy fresh groceries. The hub is a centrepiece of the Waterfall City node; the most exciting mixed-use node to be rolled out in the past decade plus.

Attacq also has interests in regional experience hubs: Eikestad Mall in Stellenbosch, MooiRivier Mall in Potchefstroom and Garden Route Mall. Its convenience malls include Glenfair Boulevard and Lynnwood Bridge. It owns Waterfall Corner, which is a neighbourhood mall.

Strong returns

Mall of Africa’s foot count rose 5.2% and its turnover climbed 5.2% in November 2023, while in December 2023, the foot count was up 9.6% and turnover rose a healthy 12.7%. It’s evident that people from Gauteng enjoyed shopping at the mall in November but they really flocked to the mall in December whether they stayed in Gauteng for the month or before they headed to the coast on holiday. Worth noting is that while the “Black Friday” November weekend brought feet, choosing to create a rugby fan park at the mall proved to be a masterstroke by Attacq’s retail team, which is led by Michael Clampett. More than 130 000 fans descended on the Mall of Africa’s fan park to watch the Rugby World Cup final on October 28. The semifinal drew tens of thousands of fans to the fan park. During 2024, the experience hub will host more live entertainment and events. It’s position is ideal as it geographically fits in the centre of Gauteng. Attacq had an agreement with Disney, the American entertainment giant which turned 100 in October. An assortment of characters from the mega brand appeared at Mall of Africa, along with other entertainers during the festive season.  

Clampett who has ten years of retail experience says a variation of tools and strategies have made Mall of Africa a consistent success and have also boosted the experiences at the company’s other retail experience hubs.

“Technology can improve the retail experience for the landlord, the tenant, and the customer. Look at leasing for example. It typically works on a hierarchy where each person along it decides if a lease is signed based on their knowledge which may be biased. We have managed to make signing a lease more scientific by giving people access to reliable and detailed data,” Clampett says.

Property managers who innovate get a higher chance of success in a challenging market environment such as that in SA. Attacq has embedded Proptech into its asset management strategy. It streamlined the group’s operations, to enhance tenant engagement and to optimise resources. 

Attacq employs a Swiss Army Knife of techniques to gather valid data at its malls, which helps it to enhance the service offering in each of these areas, evident in the improved turnover and foot ocunt numbers.

“People used to walk around with clipboards and do on the spot interviews to gather market research. Since then, there have been leaps in how we learn about who our shoppers are, how long they stay in our malls each visit, and which stores they like the most at specific times in the year,” Clampett says.

“If we consider Mall of Africa, we have technology which enables us to collect all kinds of data points. For example, when a customer logs onto our Wi-Fi, we can track where their phone goes. It’s not invasive data which collects and keeps peoples’ personal information. We also use software to work out where our customers shop inside the mall and outside of it,” he says.

The group found for example through this tracking that many cell-phones popped up at Ster Kinekor.

This helped Attacq to back Ster Kinekor’s business rescue in 2021 and the movie cinema operator managed to exit the process stronger in November 2022, following a R250m investment.

Attacq reported that Eikestad Mall’s foot count rose 13.4% in November, while its turnover climbed 9.3%. In December, its foot count climbed 15% and its turnover climbed 9.4%. The mall highly popular with 90 plus stores and is located in the centre of the town.

Garden Route Mall, located in George, enjoyed 9.1% turnover growth and the foot count there rose 1.5% in November. In December, the turnover climbed 8.1% but the foot count took a slight knock of minus 2%.

MooiRivier Mall mustered 4.7% turnover growth but saw its foot count fall 2% in November. In December its foot count dropped 4.5% but turnover offset this by climbing a strong 9.5%.

Attacq does not report foot counts for its other, smaller malls. However, Glenfair Boulevard achieved turnover growth of 3.1% in November and a flat change of minus 0.3% in December. Lynnwood Bridge’s turnover grew a really impressive 9.9% in November and by 2.8% in December. Lynnwood Bridge hosts a diverse range of stores and has appealed to people living in the suburb of Lynnwood and elsewhere across Tshwane. Safari & Outdoor, a hunting and outdoor experience retailer is one of the most successful specialised retailers in the country. Lynnwood Bridge is also popular because it has numerous coffee spots and restaurants such as Cowfish, Lupa Osteria, Tashas, Vovo Telo, Tribeca Standard and Vee & Forti.

Waterfall Corner, Attacq’s neighbourhood centre has been well-loved since the original formation of Waterfall City. It has been popular with retirees who stay at the beautiful retirement villages in the area and has attracted a wider range of residents as Attacq and other companies have rolled out developments. It achieved 6.9% growth in turnover in November, and 7.9% growth in turnover in December. Waterfall Corner’s tenants include pet store Canine & Co., restaurant Louise & Anna, Chateau Gateaux cake shop, Cowfish, Legends Barbershop, Life Grand Café, Sorbet Nail Bar, The Sneaker Shack which does sneaker laundry and AllFix for electronics repairs.

Making life easier for shoppers

Attacq uses varied technologies and methods to regularly improve shoppers’ experiences. It has partnered with Admyt, a ticketless parking solution, for example to help remove the pains of parking. Customers sign up to Admyt and log their licence plate on a system. Then every time they park at an Attacq-owned mall, a camera reads their licence plate when they arrive and again when they leave, and they are charged for their stay.

The landlord gets reports from Admyt about how many customers visit each mall whether they are signed up to admit or not as cameras will see every single car which enters and which leaves. It also assists Attacq with security.

Attacq also gets data from banks about general retail sales at its shopping centres.

Bringing in more feet

To get feet into stores, tenants use activations. For example, Faf de Klerk the Springbok rugby player known for wearing speedos with SA’s flag on them post matches could do in-store signings at a brand while in his famous attire and draw customers.

The Sook pop-up space for retailers is also thriving at Mall of Africa. Brands can use the Sook space which includes physical store space and an online platform to create temporary pop-up stores at the mall. This enables Mall of Africa to attract a greater diversity of customer, be it young parents looking for baby products, businessmen looking for suits, sneaker collectors, fragrance lovers or would be chefs.


Clampett stresses that foremost, safety is the priority at Attacq’s assets.

“We use technology and well-managed staff to prevent crime and unpleasant incidents across our malls. We work to be as vigilant as possible. We want people to enjoy themselves and, to feel welcome, safe, and included in the experiences we offer at our malls,” he says.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *