Fourways Mall has progressed in its aggressive campaign to attract new shops and clients and improve its strained financial position.

Fourways Mall is South Africa’s largest shopping centre with a gross lettable area (GLA) of 178,000 square meters and 350 stores.

The mall, located in the Fourways area in Johannesburg, underwent a comprehensive redevelopment in 2019.

The expansion included the development of two large flyovers going into the underground parking, off William Nicol Drive and Witkoppen Road.

The redevelopment also linked Fourways Mall to banking facilities, a Food Lover’s Market, a large West Pack Lifestyle store and an XXL Petworld, as well as 8,000 parking bays.

The mall boasts the biggest retail brands, including H&M, Food Lovers Market, Westpack, XXl Pet World, Checkers, Mr Price Home, Woolworths, Foschini, and Edgars.

Other prominent stores include Game, Pick n Pay, Dis-Chem Clicks, and Leroy Merlin, making it South Africa’s largest super regional mall.

It also offers family entertainment from The Fun Company, Adventure Golf, Bounce Free Jumping arena, Extreme Go-Karting, and Ster-Kinekor cinemas.

However, despite the large redevelopment investment, it has struggled to attract enough foot traffic and stores to prosper.

The mall’s net rent per square meter has declined from R298 in 2020 to R262 in 2023, which puts pressure on the landlord.

Fourways Mall’s fair value declined significantly over the last three years, which illustrates the challenges its largest shareholder, Accelerate Property Fund, faces.

It has reached such drastic measures that Accelerate director Michael Georgiou defaulted on a loan to Investec.

Investec acquired Georgiou’s shares, linked to a lending transaction, and now owns 8% of Accelerate Property Fund.

Investec did not want to buy 8% of Accelerate Property Fund. It was forced to because Georgiou could most likely not repay the loan where the shares were used as collateral.

Protea Capital Management founder and CEO Jean Pierre Verster said Investec’s response will be important to track.

“It will be interesting to see whether Investec will become an activist shareholder to find a block buyer for the shares,” he said.

Fourways Mall turnaround plan

Two shopping mall heavyweights, Flanagan & Gerard and the Moolman Group, spearhead efforts to transform Fourways Mall.

They have recently unveiled their strategy to make Fourways Mall the preferred shopping destination in the region.

The high-level plan is to offer a mix of retail options within a convenient, safe, and engaging environment.

They want to ensure that Fourways Mall is top of mind as the best shopping destination for those who reside in our primary and secondary trade areas.

A more detailed strategy includes improving signage to make it easier for people to navigate to the mall and find parking.

It also wants to fill the numerous empty shops with new tenants. This will improve Fourways Mall’s appeal and increase rental income.

Another important investment is offering all tenants full backup power solutions to improve trading amidst load-shedding. It is also exploring energy alternatives.

The turnaround plan focuses heavily on enhanced parking area lighting and upgraded security measures. The goal is to make it safe and easy for shoppers to visit the mall.

As part of this initiative, Fourways Mall plans to optimise traffic flow and make parking bays bigger.

It is also investing to revitalise the surrounding area, with attention to taxi services, hawkers, landscaping, and traffic light systems.

The initial six-month strategy is poised to lay the foundation for re-establishing Fourways Mall as a top-tier shopping destination.

Fourways Mall makes progress

On 13 June 2024, Fourways Mall announced a new taxi holding area to alleviate road congestion and offer commuters quick and safe access.

Fourways Mall has now expanded its commuter court, which forms part of the revitalisation project.

This improvement is aimed at managing traffic flow inside and outside the Fourways Mall, which has been problematic.

The underground commuter court was built as part of the expansion project that opened in September 2019. It is located on the basement level, under Pick n Pay.

This transportation hub has now been expanded with an additional taxi holding area, providing a comfortable and convenient environment for taxi drivers and passengers.

It offers two direct access points into the mall, the inclusion of a safe walkway between the taxi rank and drivers’ holding area, and added speed bumps in the area.

The commuter court includes retail offerings, Roots Butchery and Restaurant, Real Fish and Chips and Arthur Ford.

“The secure and convenient movement of our consumers in and out of the mall is paramount to us,” says Paul Gerard, managing director of Flanagan and Gerard.

This taxi hub provides taxi associations with their own designated lanes, ensuring commuters’ ease of use when selecting the route for their final destination.

The taxis follow a systematic filtering process: filter in, fill up, and move out. Fourways Mall said it maintains strong relations with the taxi associations and works closely with the on-the-ground marshals.

“Putting the transportation hub underground allows us to operate a controlled space and provide shelter from environmental elements for our customers,” Gerard said.