Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  26 May 2010

RETAIL: International Shopping, South African Style


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With the highly anticipated World Cup weeks away, all eyes are firmly placed on Africa’s melting pot of culture, diversity, natural beauty and adventure. South Africa is home to a variety of fascinating destinations and locations, with the suburb of Sandton rising up as the urban lap of African luxury.

Situated in Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city in the country’s wealthiest province, Sandton is established as the reputable shopping, business and tourism hotspot. This hub offers visitors a safe environment, modern technology, convenient transportation nodes, a range of luxury hotels, world-class shopping, award-winning restaurants and entertainment conveniently located in South Africa’s affluent playground. Sandton is also home to the JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange), the country’s financial backbone.

At the heart of the Sandton precinct lies Sandton City Shopping Centre, one of the largest shopping centres in the Southern Hemisphere. The centre, co-owned by Liberty Group (75%) and Pareto Limited (25%), offers a safe environment, linking tourists to local amenities including hotels, restaurants and conference venues via weatherproof skywalks, allowing tourists access to a uniquely South African experience all within a vibrant, well-managed, secure precinct.

“The skywalks have been strategically designed to create a quick, safe and weatherproof means of travelling within the Sandton City node” notes Julie Hillary, Liberty Properties General Manager, Sandton City Region. “This has created an independent environment that meets all shopping, business and leisure needs.”

Sandton City Shopping Centre offers leading international brands with a vibrant mix of African glamour. The mall is established as the leading home of international brands in Africa, and is the first choice of Africa’s elite and celebrities for comprehensive shopping. Sandton City is the continent’s retail trendsetter. Many international brands target Sandton City as their gateway in to retail in Africa and South Africa – with the list of retail firsts the centre has achieved being both extensive and impressive.

This retail landmark and social hub caters for a wide spectrum of markets and offers visitors close to 300 stores in which to revel. Sandton City will be extending their shopping hours during World Cup from 9am to 9pm daily.

International brands seamlessly combine with local brands, bringing an unmatched shopping experience in South Africa. Refined names like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Armani, Mont Blanc, Guess, Cartier, Fendi, Lacoste, Hugo Boss, Mango, Pringle of Scotland, and Versace are on offer, together with global favourites Levi’s, Aldo, Mac, Smashbox, MacDonalds, Dunhill, Nine West, Diesel, Gant, Nike, Apple iStore, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), and more.

Sandton City is geared up to cater for the needs of tourists visiting the centre, boasting a variety of Bureau de Change facilities, medical suites, exceptional dining and a Food Court, a Muslim prayer room, VAT refund office and an Information Kiosk, where friendly hosts provide customer care and information.

Visitors can also take a piece of Africa home from Sandton City, with art galleries, gift stores and over twenty jewellers in the complex offering timeless pieces made locally from South African diamonds and precious metals, as well as stocking luxury international brands.

Liberty Properties, managers of the Sandton City complex and a division of Liberty Group, have been developing and managing property since 1972. Their unique expertise provides functional and lucrative environments for retail and business. With an impressive portfolio which includes hotels, office space and shopping centres throughout South Africa spanning over 1.3 million sqm in size, Liberty Properties has firmly established itself as one of the leading property developers in the country. Sandton City Shopping Centre makes up almost 23% of its owned and managed portfolio by value.

The company recently announced a landmark repositioning project for Sandton City commencing with the first phase, a R1,77 billion investment includes an extensive internal refurbishment and as well as a substantial extension of the centre which will take the Sandton City complex to a massive 215,000sqm. The project has already commenced and is set for completion by late 2011.

“Sandton City is known as the pre-eminent shopping and lifestyle destination on the African continent, and is ideally situated near key areas of business and entertainment in the province.” says Hillary. “The current refurbishment of the Sandton City Shopping Centre will amplify the shopping experience to match, if not precede, those of international stature.”

The refurbishment will offer more investment opportunities within the centre, with additional retail space on offer to local and international businesses and entrepreneurs.

One of the key features which continues to attract business and shoppers alike to Sandton City is its close proximity to important world-class amenities within the complex accessible via the skywalk.

Adjacent to the shopping centre is Nelson Mandela Square at Sandton City, with its fashionable sidewalk cafes, fine dining and over 90 exclusive shops. It is named after South Africa’s former president, and houses a specially donated six-metre bronze statue of Nelson Mandela. “The Square” also hosts regular live entertainment concerts from music to dance and exclusive events.

The Nelson Mandela Square is home to The Old Mutual Theatre on the Square, which features various South African plays, musicals, concerts, children’s theatre acts and more. It is a popular award-winning destination, with a reputation for theatre excellence.

The five-star Sandton Sun hotel as well as the Sandton Towers Inter-Continental Johannesburg both provide luxurious hospitality within the Sandton City complex.

The Sandton Sun has always been a touchstone for global business travellers seeking a five-star hotel recognised both for its exceptional style, and its intuitive, personal service.

The Sandton Sun set out to be the finest hotel in Johannesburg when it opened its doors in 1984, and soon became Southern Sun’s flagship hotel as well as a proudly South African status symbol. Regardless, some 26 years later after a number of evolutionary stages and revitalisation, Sandton Sun has retained its ranking despite the arrival of many competitors.

The hotel now features a brand new Business Suite on the 6th level, which was totally rebuilt in mid-2009 and comprises a variety of meeting rooms. Perfect for private one-on-one or small intimate gatherings, its main appeal is its state-of-the-art video conferencing equipment.

Welcoming VIP check-in facilities including en-suite change rooms and a luggage room - ideal for early arrivals – are all part of this modern day business environment. Safe, secure access to Sandton City is yet another attribute.

Sandton Sun also recently extended to include a Spa -- a strong favourite among business travellers. Its signature treatment, the Sea Whisperer, is pure indulgence for the jet-lagged, offering a fusion of massage styles from around the world, whilst the 24-hour fitness centre makes it easy to keep up an exercise regime while away from home.

The Sandton Sun’s choice of accommodation for the business traveller ranges from deluxe rooms to its new stylishly appointed Presidential Suites – the epitome of African style -- all equipped with satellite television, complimentary mini-bars and WIFI.

With kudos such as South Africa’s and Africa’s Leading Business Hotel by The World Travel Awards in 2009, Sandton Sun is the hotel of choice for many travellers.

The Sandton Convention Centre, also developed by Liberty Properties, is the largest conference centre in Africa, and carries with it world-class conference facilities. The convention centre offers everything you need, whether you're planning an international conference with thousands of delegates, or seeking a private boardroom for smaller, more intimate high-level meetings. With its impressive range of technological features and adaptability it has hosted top international events such as Miss World 2008.

Connecting the Sandton City complex to the world, it is directly serviced by the newly developed Gautrain Sandton Station -- a world class modern rapid rail link transport system presenting safe, fast, affordable and reliable transport with a quick non-stop airport connection to OR Tambo International Airport, the largest airport in Africa.

“Sandton is the perfect location for visitors to our country who would like to experience the urban luxury and sophistication available in Africa.” notes Hillary. “Investor confidence in the area continues to grow rapidly, with the increasing amount of cranes on the skyline evidence of this. Sandton, as does South Africa, continues to grow, and with it the offering of vibrant business and retail sectors of the scale and stature of leading economies throughout the world.”

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