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Wernhil will stand test of time

Wernhil Park Property Manager, Helen Bosshart.

Wernhil Park Property Manager, Helen Bosshart.

The onset of the Grove Mall of Namibia is set to change the retail landscape of the country. The Economist recently spoke to Helen Bosshart, Property Manager of Wernhil Park to gain her perspective on the transformation the retail environment is experiencing.
 Said Bosshart, “The Grove Mall and Wernhil Park cater for entirely different shopper segments and income groups. Although there may be similar shops at both these malls and at Maerua Mall, retailers often adjust their product ranges to cater for the shopper segments that frequent the relevant malls. We are cognisant of the fact that there may well be an initial drop in foot traffic as is the case whenever a new mall opens their doors, however Wernhil has proven that convenience, location and retail mix will ensure that it shall remain competitive as well as a preferred destination in future.

This ultimately creates huge opportunity for us to ensure that we continuously evolve and improve our service and retail offering to retain customer and shopper loyalty.”
“We are confident that Wernhil Park will remain a preferred shopping destination in future. Having said that, we are very much aware of the fact that Wernhil needs to remain competitive at all times, and have already proceeded to investigate the further expansion of Wernhil Park Shopping Centre in the near future. This possible future expansion is driven mainly by retailer demand which is a clear indication of the confidence that retailers have in Wernhil’s ability to be competitive” added Bosshart. “As with any new player to a market, the Grove Mall will bring with it a new dimension which will need to be tested and supported by both its retailers as well as the public at large. For commercial property owners who own similar properties this may well mean that such new dimensions can be a learning [opportunity] to improve their own service.
“In the medium to longer term the Grove Mall may well kick-start a shift towards further commercial development within the southern part of Windhoek. Decentralization of this nature has been a concern for the Windhoek CBD for many years, and as long as the playing fields are level, Wernhil Park will endeavour to remain as competitive as possible” she said.
“One should not forget that the CBD is also going through a major shift with some promising commercial developments taking place or being planned for the near future.
Windhoek has seen rapid growth towards the southern parts of the City which would ultimately require more commercial presence to supply such residential areas. It will be the task of the CBD to ensure that it remains competitive and that especially the office users remain loyal to that area” said Bosshart.
“In addition, Wernhil Park’s developers are already planning for an exciting expansion.
This is however driven more from a retailer demand perspective than to remain competitive when the Grove commences trade later in 2014.”
Regarding the evolutionary face of retail she said, “Wernhil Park has seen a major facelift and transformation during 2007/08 which made it competitive with any local or international shopping mall from a design as well as look and feel perspective. A further extension was subsequently completed during 2010/11 which added to the already strong retail mix.Today Wernhil Park is one of, if not the highest, foot traffic properties in Namibia, attracting an average of over 1.2 million people per month. Having said that we by no means doubt that going forward Wernhil will need to keep on transforming itself to keep up with the times as well as the competition. This fact is clearly understood.”

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