“In all the years that I’ve been in retail, I think that this will be our toughest year yet,” says Bernard Mostert, co-owner of private firm FrontierCo, which has 190 stores selling fashion, eyewear and shoes, as well as the Aldo, Guess and Fraser luggage brands.

Mostert says it is definitely the most challenging year in the past 13, as store owners face increased costs to mitigate load-shedding and consumers have less money to spend on clothing or restaurants. ..

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