n African Journal of Business and Economic Research - Towards an understanding of retailing practices in the second economy : an exploratory study of Western & Eastern Cape township retailers in South Africa

Volume 6, Issue 2_3
  • ISSN : 1750-4554
  • E-ISSN: 1750-4562


This exploratory study set about to profile the facilities, trading activities and procurement practices of townships retailers in the Western and Eastern Cape. A quantitative survey of traders was conducted in tandem with in-depth interviews with key personnel at major suppliers servicing the township market. It was found that these retailers are generally well equipped and operate with a minimal staff complement. Sale of fresh produce (particularly bread, milk, chicken, sugar and maize) as well as cool drink constitutes major revenue drivers. These items are typically acquired directly from the supplier (through store delivery) whereas household care items, cigarettes and condiments are typically purchased through warehouse clubs such as Metro Cash & Carry and Makro. Although township retailers were found to be creative at solving problems, they were somewhat reliant on suppliers to assist with the provision of facilities (e.g. Coca-Cola in the case of advertising and refrigerators) and, in some cases, direct store delivery. Suppliers therefore need to give due consideration to supporting these retailers if they wish to channel significant sales volume through the informal sector.

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