South African shopping centres face challenges as some big tenants seek to reduce outlets or shut brick-and-mortar operations. This week's decision by Standard Bank to shut 91 branches, which will affect 1,200 jobs, is a growing trend. Edcon, the owner of Edgars, the largest fashion retailer in the country, is reducing its number of stores. Keillen Ndlovu, head of listed property at Stanlib, said furniture retailers, which once took up a big part of malls, were also shrinking their space. Banks' spatial reduction and closure of branches are more likely to have a negative effect on secondary retail centres in urban or metropolitan areas, said Ndlovu, while rural and township malls were less vulnerable. "Though banks do not feature as the top tenants, landlords will have to find innovative ways to let the space vacated by them [banks] and some of the retailers such as Edcon," he said. Ndlovu said retailers were going for smaller and more productive stores to reduce costs. "Retailers w...

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