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In the early weeks of the pandemic, as grocery shoppers turned to online retail to keep pantries and fridges stocked, the prophets of mall doom came out in force.

After all, SA's 2,000-odd shopping centres ranked the country eighth in the world in terms of mall space, according to the South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC). Surely that was an indication that the country had overinvested in these facilities, and that something had to give?..

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