Rural malls changing the retail landscape in Limpopo

Dlamini, Joe (2012-12)

Thesis (MDF)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.


The influx of malls into townships and rural villages post-1994 is well-documented, and researchers such as McGaffen (2010) have attributed this influx to the rising buying power of the Black middle class and other poverty intervention programs created by the government. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of establishing malls in rural Limpopo on spazas and general dealers. Furthermore, the study also evaluated the responses of both spazas and general dealers to competition from the malls. In this regard, 50 outlets composed of 25 spazas and 25 general dealers were interviewed face-to-face on their premises. These in-depth interviews were conducted using the semi-interview guidelines to gain the views of the store owners on the impact of malls in areas such profitability, employment, and the products sold in their outlets. The research further evaluated strategies employed by these outlets in order to cope with the competition from the malls. The main findings were that malls do have an impact on profitability, employment, and the products of both the spazas and general dealers. Similarly, the impact on customers was a mixed bag in that some establishments experienced a decline in the number of customers using their outlets, while at least one spaza shop saw an increase in the number of customers. Finally, the spazas and general dealers employed a number of strategies, such credit facilities, longer operating hours, and focusing on products generally not sold in the mall, in order to counter the impact of competition from the malls.

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