• Staff writer


According to leading South African property developer and investor Atterbury, more people are coming back sooner to shopping centres that have outdoor spaces. Open air restaurant and shopping spaces are leading shopper returns while Covid remains a reality, and Atterbury has the advantage of having included great outdoor spaces in many of its developments right from the start, so it is well positioned to benefit from this trend. Outdoor spaces also help retailers and restauranteurs make the most of the country’s sunny climate.

Atterbury’s portfolio of retail assets with outdoor experiences include Castle Gate Lifestyle Centre, The Club in Pretoria (part of the Old East precinct in Pretoria), Newtown Junction in Johannesburg, the Mall of Africa in Midrand, Grove Mall in Windhoek and Dunes Mall in Walvis Bay. At these destinations, Atterbury has created al fresco experiences with public art, trees, greenery, water features and children’s play areas. They also include special touches that provide visual points of interest in unexpected places.

In September, October and November 2020, Old East Precinct saw a rapid rebound in patrons due to its many and varied outdoor options. Restaurants outperformed their trading during the same months in 2019, with some even showing double digit growth.

Another great aspect of outdoor areas is that they make it easy to offer ever-changing attractions at shopping centres, including pop-ups, live entertainment, themed events and markets - all done safely within Covid protocols best practice.

Atterbury believes that the winter months will not freeze out customers’ return to outdoor venues, as long as outdoor socialising in small groups remains the safest way for people to gather. In addition, most of its shopping centres with piazzas are in areas with no winter rainfall and good restaurants provide cosy experiences in colder months, offering guests the warmth of outdoor gas heaters and blankets.


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