Mad rush in city

7

MASERU — Hundreds of people jostled to be the first shoppers when Lesotho’s only world-class shopping mall finally opened for business yesterday.
Even before the start of business, snaking queues had formed at Pioneer Mall — a M140 million project by the Moruo Development consortium.
Stock at some shops ran out as excited shoppers went for opening specials.
Shop managers who spoke to the Lesotho Times reported brisk business, something they had not anticipated.
There was a heavy police presence to keep anxious shoppers orderly.
The mall was initially expected to open by mid October.
However, when the mall was finally unveiled yesterday only a few of its tenants opened for business.
These were supermarket Pick ‘n Pay, linen shop Sheet Street, clothing shops Pep, Authority and KBS Leisure Brands as well as gifts, jewellery and baby-wear supplier Cardes.
Household utilities supplier LCS as well as two hair and beauty salons also opened their doors to the public.
The mall is expected to house 55 tenants, including food outlets Steers, Spur, King Pie, KFC and Ocean Basket.
Telecommunications rivals Vodacom Lesotho and Econet Telecom Lesotho will also have offices at Pioneer Mall.
Banking institutions to operate at the mall include Standard Lesotho Bank and Nedbank Lesotho.
The tenants will also include travel agencies and computer consumables shops.
Yesterday, Pick ‘n Pay and Sheet Street were the busiest of the new shops, with hundreds of shoppers battling to get a chance to buy.
Sheet Street manager ‘Maneo Nyakane reported brisk business as the South African franchisee sold out most of its products.
“Business was good today and this shows that the shop is what the people needed, since it is the first branch in the country,” she said.
“Most of our products were sold out today and items on sale sold out within a couple of hours.”
LCS general manager Vanessa Paulsen said the shop had not expected an overwhelming response on the first day of business at the mall.
“People came in large numbers since we opened and we were very surprised by the number of people who came into our shop,” she said.
“We did not really expect such a huge turnout.”
Cardes director Haroon Ahmed said he hoped the mall would continue attracting hordes of shoppers throughout the festive season.
“There was a huge response and we are hoping that this goes on,” he said.
“We are looking forward to the festive season.”
Paballo Makhate, one of the four owners of Elite, a clothing store expected to start business today, was impressed with the public response.
“This is one of the milestones that the country has achieved so far,” he said of the mall and the turnout yesterday.
“For business we are positive of the support that we will receive from Basotho people.”
One shopper told the Lesotho Times that the mall was a welcome development in the country.
“It is a great honour to see such a development in our country,” Nyakallo Lefenya said after emerging from Cardes Jewellery.
“After so many years without a mall, finally there is one in the country.”

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