Bumper opening for SA’s newest super-regional mall
More than 210,000 eager shoppers flocked to South Africa’s newest super-regional mall, the R1.7 billion Baywest Mall in Port Elizabeth, over its first four days of operation, exceeding the expectations of management and national tenants alike.
Just 24 months after ground broke on the 90,000m² mall, Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle declared it officially open last Thursday (May 21), saying it was and would be a major boost for the province’s economy.
By the end of business Sunday, just over 210,000 shoppers had flowed through the mall’s eight entrances. Baywest marketing manager Samantha Hewitson said both turnout and trade had exceeded all expectations.
“Unaudited figures indicate that some of our national tenants have broken records for a single day of trading, provincially and, for some, even nationally,” said Hewitson.
“Reports from many of our stores indicate that the opening weekend sales have by far exceeded their expectations, especially given that it is a week before payday for many.”
Hewitson said the public had embraced the mall leading up to the grand opening.
“One could feel the anticipation in the air leading up to last week’s opening. However, these opening numbers have really bowled us over.”
Hewitson said that shoppers could look forward to even more exciting stores opening in the coming months, during the mall’s “opening season”.
“With any development this size, teething problems will arise, but we are dealing with them as soon as they crop up,” she said.
“The support from the public has been amazing.”
The mall’s operation signals not only the start of development of the Baywest City project, but also the creation of 2,500 permanent jobs at the various stores which are and will be opening their doors.
According to Nedbank Property Finance, which financed the development, Billion Group and Abacus Asset Management “saw the potential of such an establishment to inject sustainable benefits and growth into Port Elizabeth and the Eastern Cape economy as a whole”.
“Financing the development of Baywest Mall remains one of our biggest partnerships to date, and we believe that it will make a significant contribution to the socio-economic enhancement of the people and communities of Port Elizabeth,” said Ken Reynolds, Regional Executive Gauteng – Nedbank Property Finance.
The mall represents a host of firsts for the province, from stores including Ster-Kinekor IMAX, Dion Wired, Dune
and River Island.
Photo Caption: RECORD OPENING: Tenants at Port Elizabeth’s Baywest Mall experienced record trade during the first four days of operation, with more than 210,000 shoppers visiting the mall. (picture: David Dettmann)
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