SA’s top retailers were accused of anticompetitive behaviour in townships at the Competition Commission’s first public hearings on the retail market in Pretoria on Monday. Louis Greeff, the MD of independent buying group Elite Star Trading Africa, accused Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Spar and Massmart of profiteering from smaller independent players in the townships. In his submission to the commission, Greeff claimed that the "big four" retailers each made profit of about R50m a year from the townships. "There’s a structural flaw in retail trading in SA, which has made the ‘big four’ too big, leaving independent stores [with] little leverage," said Greeff. He said spaza shops in townships were disappearing as a result of the infiltration of the formalised retail players, which were taking market share. Greeff claimed that retailers such as Pick n Pay and Massmart sold products at lower margins to independent wholesalers than they did in their stores, implying that "retailing in SA is abou...

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