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Judging by their latest trading updates, SA’s clothing retailers got very few gifts from Santa Claus. The festive season tends to be a boom time for shops, as the sector makes a fat chunk of its sales in the last few weeks of the year.

However, those who were hoping that Christmas sales would lift SA out of its economic doldrums were disappointed, as the country’s leading retailers, Woolworths, Truworths and Mr Price, all reported low single-digit sales growth for the period. Woolworths says sales for the 26 weeks to December 23 were up only 2%. At Truworths retail sales in Africa rose 2% for the 26 weeks to December 30...

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