Banks, clothing stores and fast-food outlets are all testing smaller retail spaces as technology means shoppers don't need to visit stores. For property companies that own shopping centres this could mean an increase in vacant space. Nashil Chotoki, national asset manager for retail at Redefine Properties, this week said: "As an industry, retailers are oversized, resulting in centres that are too large for the markets in which they operate, which has exacerbated the oversupply of retail within the South African market." Much of the reduction in retail space is due to the increase in online activity in recent years. As people increasingly shop or bank online, the need for physical retail space is reduced. In response, businesses that occupy commercial property in office parks and retail centres are rethinking their use of space, given the tough economic conditions, coupled with continuous change in consumer shopping habits. FNB is reducing its branch size by 10% a year. Likewise, ret...

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