Accra Mall shops threaten closure over ‘high rent’
Barring any unforeseen intervention, shops in Accra Mall will be shut down on Thursday as shop owners in the country’s premier mall protest what they describe as unreasonably high rent and poor services.
The shop owners said they would close down their shops from morning to afternoon to drive home their demand for rebates as ongoing repair works bite hard on sales and take a more drastic decision if the management of the mall failed to reason with them.
Rent at the Accra Mall costs between $80-86 (GH¢430- GH¢455) per square metre.
The shop owners alleged that efforts to get the managers of the mall, Broll Ghana, to renegotiate their rent because of ongoing repairs, which was affecting sales, had fallen on deaf ears.
“The management are not willing to listen to the genuine concerns of tenants. There are now scaffolding all over the place, repairing the damage to the roof a year after part of it collapsed,” lawyer for the tenants, Dr Maurice Ankrah, told the Daily Graphic.
Parts of the ceiling of the Accra Mall collapsed on October 11, 2018 causing injury to three shoppers.
Although no fatalities were recorded, apart from three shoppers, who managers of the facility said sustained minor injuries, it triggered safety concerns from visitors and shoppers who became alarmed over the probability of something similar happening in the future.
The incident, Dr Ankrah said, had shrunk the number of shoppers visiting the mall over structural integrity concerns but managers of the mall had done little to allay the fears of the public, only to come and erect scaffolds all over.
The public fear might be as a result of the November 7, 2012 Melcom collapse that resulted in the death of 14 people and injury to 73 others.
The disaster was blamed on faulty construction, which caused the multi-storey shopping centre at Achimota in Accra to collapse.
“They are not willing to sit down and talk to the tenants. There are problems. How can the whole of the Accra Mall have only four toilets? The tenants are complaining but they have taken them for granted,” he said.
He said in the past when the Accra Mall was the only one in the country, the high rents were affordable to the tenants because patronage of the mall was high, adding that “today, it is not the case, there are malls everywhere.
“They are not making money from the other malls because the tenants are leaving so they think they can squeeze it from those at the Accra Mall,” he said.
Some malls in the city have been losing tenants as some of the major brands vacate their shops in a bubble bust.
The West Hills Mall has, for instance, lost big brands, including and Edgars, Foschini, Woolworth, all South Africa-based clothing lines.
The Foschini Group operates the American Swiss, Sportscene, Markham and @Home shops at the mall and its exit is seen as a sign of dwindling fortunes.
The Daily Graphic of October 5, 2019 reported that at the West Hills Mall, apart from the anchor shops and the food joints which are the centre of attraction, the cinema, which is equally a crowd puller, is gradually losing its shine, as a result of which it is currently being operated by a church on Sunday mornings.