Ramat Aviv Shoppers Boost Africa Israel Profits

Operating profit of Ramat Aviv Mall has grown by NIS 1.5 million in the second quarter of 2003, 4 percent over the revenues in the corresponding period in 2002, Benny Cohen of Africa Israel Investments' mall division said.

Revenues for all stores put together amounted to NIS 155 million for the quarter. Average sales per square meter was $700, and annual turnover is expected to reach NIS 620 million. Since stores pay Africa Israel around 10 percent of their sales, the mall's operating profit depends on the turnover.

Cohen explained that operating profit has gone up because revenues have gone up, and the mall has managed to cut half a million shekels in expenses, thanks to consolidating the maintenance agreements for all of Africa Israel's five malls in Israel.

More shoppers visit Ramat Aviv Mall these days than they did last year, despite the opening of Arena Mall in Herzliya, Cohen noted.

Arena Mall opened mid-June, and it is still hard to estimate its effect on sales in other malls in the area. Like Ramat Aviv Mall, stores in Arena are for high-income earners.

The cost of operating a mall, Cohen said, is NIS 20 million for every 1,000 square meters. Thus, the cost of operating the 20,000 square meter Ramat Aviv Mall is NIS 20 million.

According to Cohen, a 20,000 square meter mall needs 30,000 shoppers a day to succeed. "Based on the number of malls we have in Israel, the population should have been 97 million," he said.