Rundle Mall foot traffic doubles with festival season extended trading

Last updated 19 Apr, 2023

Foot traffic in Rundle Mall more than doubled between 5-7pm this festive season, thanks to extended trading hours granted by the State Government and the Precinct’s MallFest initiative.

Data from the Adelaide Economic Development Agency (AEDA), which manages the state’s premier retail precinct, shows foot traffic increased by an average of 101% between 5-7pm on Saturdays throughout this year’s festival season (February 13 to March 19), when compared to the 2022 festival season.

Overall, foot traffic in Rundle Mall throughout the festival season also increased, up 18% year-on-year.

During the first two weeks of Fringe, retail spending increased by 14% in the city, compared to the same time in 2022.

“The strong increase in 5-7pm foot traffic shows us that South Australian shoppers have a strong appetite to shop longer and later when there are events on in the city,” said Andrew White, AEDA’s Executive Manager, Rundle Mall.

“We have had really productive conversations with retailers about the positive impact the extending trading had on their sales and are pleased with how many stores participated.

“The extended trading hours meant people could continue shopping until they were ready to go see a show or to have dinner or drinks at a restaurant, while in previous years they have had to go home and come back again later in the night.

“MallFest, which offered food and drinks in Gawler Place and free entertainment, gave Fringe and Festival goers another reason to come into the Mall, do some shopping and stay in the city for longer.

“The extended trading hours helped us transform the Mall from a retail to a lifestyle destination and provide a range of experiences you won’t find anywhere else, not just shopping.

“AEDA would welcome the opportunity to continue working with the State Government on how Rundle Mall can provide extended trading at other times throughout the year to help meet the demand from shoppers.”

Nike Adelaide was among the Rundle Mall stores to extend its trading hours beyond 5pm throughout the festival season.

“Festival season is typically not a busy time for us but this year has been completely different with Rundle Mall’s extending trading hours that we’ve leveraged,” said Nike Adelaide Store Manager Mike Hawkin.

“We’ve seen the most benefit between 5-6pm, when foot traffic and sales were strong. People were out and about, spending before dinner or going to the Fringe.

“We would welcome the opportunity to continue trading until 6pm on Saturdays on an ongoing basis.”

This year, for the first time ever, Rundle Mall retailers could trade until 7pm on Saturdays throughout the city’s renowned festival season. Saturday trading hours are traditionally 9am to 5pm.

AEDA requested the exemption from the State Government so that retailers citywide could capitalise on the increased visitation created by the Adelaide Fringe, Adelaide Festival and other events happening across the city.

To support the extended trading, Rundle Mall activated the Gawler Place canopy with MallFest, a curated schedule of exciting food, drinks, entertainment, live performances and world-class buskers.

This included the iconic Coopers Bar, which opened from 11am daily serving beer, wine, spirits and charcuterie boards, live DJs at the bar each Friday night, and displays by circus, music, dance, magic and other live performers in Gawler Place each Saturday from 11am to 7pm.

Dymocks, JD Sports, MECCA, UNIQLO, Coles, Kmart, David Jones, Myer and H&M were among some of the other Rundle Mall stores that traded for longer during festival season.