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Retail therapy-starved South Africans have returned to malls in their droves, with latest industry data pointing to a stronger-than-expected rebound in shopping centre metrics.

Retail sales, as measured by trading density (turnover per square metre), surged by 17.5% year on year in the fourth quarter, according to the SA Property Owners Association and MSCI Real Estate’s latest retail trends report. That’s the highest annualised growth on record — albeit off a low base...

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