Described as the ‘icon of African urban luxury and sophistication’, Sandton City has undergone major extensions to make way for the highly anticipated, devilishly luxurious Diamond Walk.
Situated between the shopping centre’s upper-level links and the Sandton Sun Hotel stretch, the Diamond Walk will be home to top international high-end brands including Prada, Giorgio Armani, Tod’s and Arque Champagne Crescent.
“Sandton City’s new Diamond Walk adds yet another luxurious dimension to the ultimate shopping variety and experience on the continent. We harnessed the allure of luxury and sophistication, and approached the luxury and super-luxury brands that best compliment the centre’s existing range of brands,” says Alex Phakathi, Stanlib fund manager for the Liberty Property Portfolio.
Current Sandton City tenants Luis Vuitton and Gucci have extended their retail space at the centre, while popular Swedish retailer H&M is said to be launching a store later this year.
The adjacent Nelson Mandela Square is also receiving a R300-million facelift and US fashion label Forever 21 will become the centre’s anchor tenant.
The exponential growth of ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) across the continent and a burgeoning aspirational black middle class with a penchant for the finer things in life, have global luxury brands falling over themselves to establish a solid presence in Africa.
Research from the latest Knight Frank Wealth Report suggests that Africa’s uber-wealthy own an asset base worth over $30 million (R355 million), while the number of UHNWIs is expected to grow by 59% over the next decade.
The report also reveals how Nigeria is the second-fastest growing market for champagne consumption in the world – preceded only by France.
The Lagos, Nigeria to London, UK route is the eighth-fastest growing private jet route in the world.
Chris Hart, chief strategist at Investment Solutions, says Africa is becoming a battlefield among luxury goods producers who are recognising the spending power Africans possess – particularly the rapidly growing, upwardly mobile middle class who are the major drivers of luxury goods sales.
“Luxury brands in emerging markets are extremely aspirational and brands are tapping into consumers’ desire for more,” he says, adding that China’s slowing economy has spurred growth on the continent.
And, whether it’s a wealthy businessman from Lagos or one from New York, Bain & Co partner Oliver Merkel says there’s very little to differentiate the two.
“Their taste profile and brand preferences are similar . . . They all read Vogue and want to have exactly what they see. Cars and hospitality are growing quite strongly on the continent. Last year, the Porsche dealership in Lagos met its yearly target after only the first quarter . . . so there are a lot of people who have serious money and want to spend it on things that were not previously available,” Merkel was quoted saying in a Financial Mail article.