On the northern outskirts of Joburg, Africa’s newest, biggest shopping centre, the Fourways Mall, has just opened. The size of 20 rugby fields, with a blockbusting 450 stores, the R9bn revamp means it now supersedes the previous megamall to hold that title: Midrand’s Mall of Africa.

Only, it couldn’t have come at a worse time for SA’s retailers. Globally, retail is at a crossroads, as newspapers report daily about some iconic chain having gone bust...

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