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Oryx CEO tries to convince Maerua shops to stay open longer

Oryx CEO tries to convince Maerua shops to stay open longer

Only two months into his new job as Chief Executive of Oryx Properties, Carel Fourie is on a mission to make the malls under his control more competitive. Acknowledging the impact of digital sales, Oryx Properties said this week it has started a massive refurbishment of Maerua Mall in Windhoek, and it is advocating extended trading hours, a move for which it hopes to get the support of the majority of retailers in the mall.

Oryx Properties manages a N$2.4 billion property portfolio. The company is listed on the Namibia Stock Exchange. It has 287 tenants in 25 commercial properties with an overall occupancy rate of 97.3%. In Windhoek, Oryx owns Maerua Mall, the Gustav Voigts shopping centre and the Baines shopping centre.

“The extremely competitive online retail environment has forced retailers to reassess many aspects of their business, including trading hours,” said Fourie adding that the custom of shops trading only during office hours is in conflict with the 24/7 economy which a new generation of retail customer demands.

To counter the impact of customers’ growing preference for digital purchases, Maerua Mall, the company’s flagship asset, has to come up with new attractions to ensure a constant stream of feet through its alleys.

“The mall is expanding on it’s dining and leisure offerings that should cater for all family members across all age groups. There will be a revitalised range of dining facilities including restaurants and a beautiful outdoor seating area, and a state-of-the-art Family Entertainment Centre that includes a rope- and rock-climbing centre, a trampoline park and glow-in-the-dark putt-putt” Fourie said.

Maerua Mall is currently undergoing a massive refurbishment to bring its look and offerings up to date. “The refurbishment was heavily motivated by the desire to create a place for Namibians to not only have a great shopping experience, but also to provide safe, fun activities to keep the whole family entertained,” he said.

“Many of our new and upgraded offerings naturally lend themselves to longer trading hours and encouraging shoppers to stay after hours” he added while cautiously punting his idea to convince his tenants to trade longer, especially during evening and over weekends.

“People today have more flexible working hours, there are more women in the workforce, and there are more single-parent households. Allowing retailers the option to trade when they feel they would serve their markets best is a forward-looking approach to meeting the needs of modern families and busy professionals” he explained.

Describing the ultimate aim of extended shopping hours as a win-win situation for both retailers and shoppers, Fourie said, “Extending the hours during which we trade shows that we’re willing to adapt to the needs of our customers.”

Big-name tenants at Maerua Mall include Truworths, Stuttafords, Mr Price, Hi-Fi Corporation, Clicks, Foschini, Edgars/Boardmans, Ackermans and House & Home. Most currently trade from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm on Saturdays, and 9am to 3pm on Sundays.

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