A deadly but invisible hitman is targeting traditional retail departments and chain stores across the country.Edcon, SA’s largest nonfood retailer, remains in the intensive care unit as its new owners painstakingly try to stop the bleed of customers to new technology and competition.Stuttafords, once the grande dame of SA’s department stores, is on life support, having voluntarily submitted itself for business-rescue proceedings. Its rescue plan will be presented in February following the festive trading season.Trading updates from listed players Woolworths, Truworths and Mr Price Group showed poor performances last year, suggesting that shoppers might be spending elsewhere.While reduced discretionary income and a tightened credit environment are the widely acknowledged culprits, underwhelming financial results from traditional retailers also indicate that customers’ shopping habits are changing.Julia Ahlfeldt, a certified customer experience professional, said what was happening to...

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