Taking Stock: The Development of Retail Centres in Emerging Economy Areas

This report looks at the development of retail centres in emerging economy areas and the impact on local consumers, local businesses and the local economy.


To enable us to understand this market better, Urban LandMark in 2009 appointed Demacon Market Studies to carry out a study to determine the nature and impact of shopping mall developments in South Africa’s ‘emerging economy’ areas, and explore ways in which the positive impact of these centres can be maximised and the negative impacts minimised.


The aim is to assist in the development of effective leverage mechanisms to improve the role of commercial markets in ‘emerging economy’ areas, and help developers and investors to refine their approaches to servicing consumer demands in these areas. More broadly, through an improved understanding of the economic, spatial and social characteristics of ‘emerging economy’ areas, development practitioners should be enabled to formulate appropriate solutions to the challenges that face these areas in terms of regeneration and development, and residents in terms of access to economic opportunity.


This resource begins by looking at supply-side trends, including changes in the national consumer landscape and in the actual supply of retail centres in ‘emerging economy’ areas. The next section explains the logic and drivers of each of the role-players involved in the development of a shopping centre, while the third section details the project approach and selection of the case study sites. In the fourth section, we share some of the findings of the local consumer and local small business surveys carried out in each of the case study sites – in terms of the impact the development of retail centres have had in these particular ‘emerging economy’ areas. Finally, we look at some key issues to consider when developing retail centres in South Africa’s ‘emerging economy’ areas, and some of the factors that potentially ensure their success.