Durban - Durban shopping malls are set to do brisk business today and Monday with many retailers closing tomorrow out of respect for Nelson Mandela whose funeral will take place in Qunu.
However, trading is expected to resume with a vengeance on Monday, which is also a public holiday, the Day of Reconciliation.
Major retailers such as Woolworths, Shoprite, Dischem, Clicks, the Ellerines group which includes Beares, Furniture City, Dial-a-Bed, Geen & Richards and Wetherlys, and the Massmart group which includes Game, Makro and DionWired, are expected to be closed tomorrow.
Shopping malls in the Durban area are expected to operate on a voluntary trade basis.
This weekend, which also happens to be the December payday for many South Africans, is expected to see a flurry of trading in Christmas goods, with many stocking up on groceries for the festive and year-end celebrations.
Nisha Kemraj, general manager of The Pavilion, anticipated at least 30 percent growth on last year due to new attractions.
Cindene Smith, spokeswoman for La Lucia Mall, said: “The festive season is in full swing with the mall extending hours, opening early at 8am and closing at 6pm”.
She said they expected foot traffic to increase slightly over last year’s figures, with anything between 620 000 to 650 000 visitors over the season.
“We anticipate a total spend of R140 million,” said Smith, adding that the mall had increased the complement of security, cleaning, parking and waste management staff over the season.
The mall will be open tomorrow, although some shops will be closed.
Sané Nldovu, public relations manager for Gateway, said that last year the mall had 3.5 million visitors during December. The mall is expecting this to rise to 3.6 million.
She said there were many other attractions, and this included a Teen Zone for teenagers, Gateway to the Lost World for children, competitions and music concerts.
Gateway will also be operating on a voluntary trade system tomorrow.
Umi Khan, Liberty Midlands Mall centre manager, said the mall had had a very positive start to the festive season, with a positive increase in shoppers year on year. - Independent on Saturday