A study by MSCI on behalf of the South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) shows that the current size of the South African retail market is estimated at around 23.4 million square metres of gross lettable area (GLA) across 1 959 individual shopping centres – ranking it in 8th position among the 43 countries forming part of the survey – just behind Australia and France. The top three countries in terms of shopping centre supply – the US, China & Canada – contribute a combined 77% to the overall figure.
South Africa also ranks as sub-Saharan Africa’s most saturated retail market, representing 88% of the available space in the region. It has been established that around 69% of the aggregate shopping centre floor space can be attributed to multi-tenanted centres with gross lettable areas of 5 000 to 49 000 sqm while Regional and Super Regional Malls (those larger than 50 000 sqm) account for 22% of total shopping centre GLA. Other retail types account for the balance of around 9%. These include big-box retailers, airport retail as well as smaller freestanding and local convenience centres.
Commenting on the survey, Phil Barttram, executive director of MSCI, said; “MSCI’s latest research, based on SACSC’s shopping centre directory, provides a unique perspective of the linkage between expected retail mall space, economic activity and population densities. Our intention with this research is to provide an ongoing update on expected supply to the domestic market. It’s always difficult to identify exactly which centres will complete, particularly within the smaller format shopping centres, but we felt it would be valuable to start the exercise. In addition, we feel that the SACSC Shopping Centre Directory is best placed to provide a consistent picture of upcoming supply when compared to previous years. The key take-outs of the analysis for me are finding that the centres being developed are substantially larger today than they were in 1990’s and 2000’s and secondly, that much of this space is coming into the larger metropoles and thereby competing with existing centres.”