The British toy store Hamleys is one of two international tenants due to open at the V&A Waterfront this year.

Cape Town - With two international tenants due to open their doors this year – including British toy store Hamleys – the V&A Waterfront is showing double-digit retail growth for the fourth consecutive year.

Retail results for last year reflect an actual year-on-year growth of 19 percent, which is only marginally down on the previous year’s 20 percent.

And visitor numbers for this period hit the 24 million mark.

“Our strong performance is the result of our strategy to ensure the V&A Waterfront is fresh and relevant for locals and internationals alike. Over the past two years we have focused on redeveloping existing areas, spending R135 million, which included the redevelopment of the Food Court, increasing the Pick n Pay store footprint, and creating The Watershed, Africa’s new home for craft and design,” said V&A chief executive David Green.

The Waterfront has pumped R198 billion into the national economy over the past decade, while its cumulative contribution to the provincial growth geographic product since 2002 was R173bn.

While most tourists visit the Waterfront at least once during their holiday, statistics revealed that the number of locals spending time there is proportionally more than before. Green said this was because of the Waterfront’s diverse retail and entertainment offering.

“There has been a clear focus on broadening our appeal as a shopping destination. And research undertaken recently has shown that our focus on families and affordability is starting to pay off,” said retail executive Alex Kabalin.

More than 50 percent of visitors are Capetonian, 19 percent are South African and 26 percent are foreign.

Part of the Waterfront’s winning formula was the constant review of the tenant mix to cluster similar retailers together for shopping convenience, said Green.

The Waterfront also balanced affordable retail brands with luxury international brands such as South Africa’s first Calvin Klein store.

Green said the Kings Warehouse in the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre would be redeveloped by the end of the year and would include a massive, multilevel H&M shop, as well as the first Hamleys toy store in South Africa.

The creation of the new Watershed from the old Red Shed Workshop and Blue Shed has paid off, with the new market space proving popular with visitors.

Cape Argus