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People will never stop going to malls - many do not have a choice, says Vukile CEO

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Vukile Properties owns township and rural shopping centres including  Gugulethu Square, Mdantsane City Shopping Centre, Soweto Dobsonville Mall.
Photo: Vukile Property Fund
Vukile Properties owns township and rural shopping centres including Gugulethu Square, Mdantsane City Shopping Centre, Soweto Dobsonville Mall. Photo: Vukile Property Fund

The owner of Mdantsane's biggest shopping centre and other township and rural centres says mall heydays are not over yet, not until something more severe than the first wave of Covid-19 infections and the initial hard lockdown that followed is repeated.

"With all the doom and gloom, people are saying that this is the end of mall-based retail. If that was the case, then why are we seeing in our case 85% of the shoppers already back in the malls in a constrained unnatural environment of social distancing?" said Vukile Properties CEO Laurence Rapp.

Vukile, which predominantly has malls in townships and rural centres, has escaped most of the woes that landlords of super regional malls that are dependent on tourists and fun seekers have been battling since the lockdown began - the falling footfall, to-let signs everywhere and falling rental rates.

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