Shoppers queue outside Checkers at Southgate Mall. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)
Shoppers queue outside Checkers at Southgate Mall. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Southgate Mall sees 11% increase in shoppers after unrest that left Soweto malls looted

By Botho Molosankwe Time of article published Aug 3, 2021

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Johannesburg - The looting of malls in Soweto may have disadvantaged many residents who now have to leave the township for shopping, but the nearby malls are benefiting as they now have more customers.

Southgate Mall has seen a 11% increase in shoppers since the unrest, which resulted in malls such as Jabulani, Bara and Protea Glen being looted.

While Southgate Mall has always served many residents of Soweto and other surrounding areas before, the number of shoppers has now gone up, with snaking lines for the ATMs and grocery shops being the norm inside.

Jirisha Naicker, Southgate’s Marketing Manager, said: “The Centre saw an average of 11% growth during the (unrest) period. The Centre Security is on high alert to ensure safety and compliance protocols with close management of access points to prevent overcrowding within the centre.“

As the increase in shoppers is happening at the time that the country is battling a deadly pandemic, Naicker said they put measures in place to ensure that theirs does not become a super-spreader mall.

“Southgate Mall has implemented the mandatory wearing of masks for patrons to gain access to the centre. Hand sanitisers have been strategically placed at all entrances to drive hand sanitisation before entry into the centre. Our tenants continue to administer hand sanitisers at their respective stores and make provision for social distancing inside their stores.

“Our common areas within the centre are closely monitored by Centre Security who facilitate the adherence to social distancing, queue management and crowd control.”

Naicker also said they prepared for the masses that will be descending to the mall through the implementation of its concierge programme through the introduction of ad hoc Brand Ambassadors (BAs), a system that has been in place since last year.

According to Naicker, the objective of the programme was to create an added customer touch-point during key periods such as month-end weekends, amidst planned construction works etc.

“The BAs have since assisted shoppers across a wide spectrum of queries which include centre navigation, centre trading hours, competition campaigns and centre construction, where they have become a key feature to the centre over periods of high foot traffic. One can find the BAs managing queues, attending to shopper queries, or assisting Centre Management with operations on the floor.”

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