Does the mushrooming of shopping malls kill small business?

The Delft Development Forum (DDF) and the Black Business Chamber (BBC) are reportedly against the building of a mall in the area saying the proposal to create a multi-million rand Shoprite Checkers mall won’t be beneficial to the community and would negatively impact small businesses in the area.

According to Dirk Prinsloo, managing member at Urban Studies, South Africa ranks fifth with the highest number of shopping centres in the world.

Prinsloo says the country has an urbanisation rate of 65% and growing and there's a need to make malls viable.

There are some areas which are saturated but there are opportunities in townships as well as rural areas, he says.

South Africa has built almost 300 shopping centres in the last 15 years - 150 township centres and 125 rural centres. Prinsloo says these centres are not competing directly with the spaza shops instead the informal sector develops strongly around those centres.

The building of the malls in the townships comes with job creation opportunities and the mall also becomes a catalyst for other businesses to come into the area, says Prinsloo.

The mall is contributing in improving and increasing the economy of the local market.

Dirk Prinsloo, managing member at Urban Studies

The malls also create opportunities for small businesses in terms of pop-up shops. Prinsloo says if these pop-up shops do well in time they become part of the permanent structure of the mall.

The malls offer a good contribution to small businesses, he says.

Listen to the full conversation below:


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