La Lucia Mall: fabulous at 40 with a fantastic future ahead

An icon of modern shopping in KwaZulu-Natal, La Lucia Mall celebrates 40 years of retail success this month.

Originally built in 1974, La Lucia Mall has grown and evolved with its community and retail trends to remain a relevant and exciting shopping attraction, frequented by over six million shoppers each year.

Now, it is set to grow again in 2015 with a R12 million expansion by owners and managers Growthpoint Properties.

La Lucia Mall is a 36,389sqm small regional centre in the heart of the upmarket residential and commercial estates in the northern suburbs of Durban

Vanessa Blevins, Centre Manager of La Lucia Mall, comments: “We are excited to celebrate La Lucia Mall’s 40th birthday, and especially on such a high note. Our turnovers grew by 10% in 2013 and are showing double-digit growth in 2014. We also continue to attract leading retailers.”

Chairman of Bentel Associates International, Stephen Roberts, has been with the company for 38 years, and has witnessed all of the growth of La Lucia mall since its first expansion.

“It has been an exciting journey to be part of the growth of this mall and to have worked with the many different people that have contributed to its success,” says Roberts. “The mall, like a woman, began life as young and pretty, and with the passing years has become more beautiful with each new expansion, and has now matured into a sophisticated lady worthy of respect and admiration.”

Roberts notes: “As architects, we can only provide the shell designed along well-planned principles, it’s what happens to fill the shell and keep it running that make it a success, and the Growthpoint management and team have done an excellent job in keeping the mall as a prime retail destination.”

Nazrana Premlall, leasing consultant for La Lucia Mall, recently secured the tenancies of leading retailers Mr Price Sport, Ackermans, Wimpy, Kauai Juice and Vida e Caffè, which have all opened their doors at the mall.

Poetry is also set to open at La Lucia Mall this spring, the third Cape Union Mart Group store to open in the mall in recent months.

Brian Murphy, chief operating officer of Cape Union Mart comments: “We’re very excited about the new Poetry store that we’re opening in La Lucia Mall and are particularly pleased to be able to share in the mall’s ‘40 years of shopping’ milestone.”

Murphy adds: “As a business, we see great opportunity to grow our retail brands Cape Union Mart, Old Khaki, and Poetry in KwaZulu-Natal and our new and up-coming developments in La Lucia Mall are evidence of a thriving and important strategic partnership with Growthpoint Properties. If the success of our Cape Union Mart store in La Lucia Mall is an indication of the likely success of our Poetry brand, we have great prospects in Umhlanga and the surrounding areas.”

Last month, the mall also opened Woolworths’ first JTOne stand-alone store. JTOne is Woolworths’ fresh, flirty and forever young brand and its new La Lucia Mall store exudes sexy energy.

Cecile Froehling, head of lingerie for Woolworths, says: “JTOne is a well-loved and supported brand among young South African women, who love the bright, fun, fashionable lingerie and sleepwear the brand offers. The new JTOne store at La Lucia Mall will offer shoppers the full JTOne experience, with an even wider selection of the products they love.”

And there’s even more to come at La Lucia Mall. The centre’s 2015 expansion will deliver a larger Woolworths department store for customers. Woolworths is expanding by 800sqm.

The centre also continues to attract unique, specialist line stores such as The Tea Merchant, which will open its first ever Durban store at La Lucia Mall in March 2015.

Aecom is the project and cost manager for the La Lucia Mall’s expansion. Aecom Executive Program and Project Management, Africa, Darroll McKeown says: “La Lucia Mall is a Durban success story and an example of how effective retail nodes can become community centre points and add real value to the surrounding social, urban and residential landscapes. At Aecom we are very proud of our successful relationship with La Lucia Mall and its dynamic management team. The new Woolworths expansion project will bring shoppers even more choice and quality within this prestigious shopping centre.”

McKeown adds: “La Lucia Mall is unique in its offering, style and accessibility which secures it as a bankable asset that will continue to evolve and stay relevant in the future just as it has for the last 40 years.  Aecom look forward to a long and successful future with this iconic Durban centre as it leads the way in modern high end retail.”

As a flagship shopping centre in Growthpoint’s retail portfolio, La Lucia Mall makes a positive contribution to the performance of South Africa’s largest JSE-listed REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust).

Stephan le Roux, Divisional Director of Growthpoint’s Retail Portfolio comments: “Over the past twenty five years La Lucia Mall had to adjust and adapt to competition from newer and bigger shopping centres. The centre has established itself as a convenient, unique shopping destination through an ongoing process of change, ensuring that it remains relevant to its discerning market. We wish to thank our loyal customer base for their continuous support.”

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