Informal retail channels such as spaza outlets are becoming an increasingly important distribution opportunity for brands, particularly in light of the fact that SA’s informal economy is estimated at 18% of GDP, according to Adcorp economist Loane Sharpe. It’s a space, however, that has largely been neglected by many brands, where distribution is dominated by large, national retailers. It makes sense: these channels are measurable and easy to manage, with the informal retail sector proving to be more challenging in terms of the complex landscape and wide geographical distribution, not to mention a complicated route to market. That said, noticing a wealth of untapped opportunity within the informal retail sector, 5M2T has launched and piloted a distribution network that makes this sector accessible for a host of brands. Director Stuart Smith says the company is named for the township slang term “five minutes to town”, a description of someone who is smart and savvy and can get things...

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