It has taken South African retailers 10 years to realise that their consumers have changed. After the 2008 global recession, a period in which South Africa saw a groundswell of job losses in the private sector, local retailers were the beneficiaries of government initiatives to bolster public sector employment as it responded to the crisis. Following a counter-cyclical fiscal policy, the government was able to spend in the years leading up to the 2010 Soccer World Cup. The Reserve Bank also had a more accommodative monetary policy, meaning there were low interest rates. Atiyyah Vawda, an analyst at Avior Capital Markets, said before the National Credit Act regulations were applied in 2015, retailers had an "easy time, largely driven by credit". "The competition in the environment was also limited in terms of international retail penetration, both from a product perspective and revenue perspective. The [retail] model was a lot simpler than it is now and the growth was much higher," s...

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