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A healthy entrepreneurial culture ensures that South Africans have a large and interesting selection of retail options when they go shopping. A great deal of buying and selling happens on the streets of the major urban centers where street-side vendors sell their goods, and city authorities set up mini markets.
Major retailers tend to be located either in busy shopping precincts or in the world class malls that populate all of South Africa's major cities. While a wide variety of international retailers have outlets in South African shopping malls, South Africans are also very supportive of local retailers, which has allowed a number of national franchises to proposer and even expand in overseas markets.
Four major supermarkets dominate the South African market, with up to several dozen franchises accessible in any South African city. Pick n Pay and Shoprite Checkers are the two largest supermarket chains, and aim to give value to the average South African shopper.
While Pick n Pay and Shoprite Checkers provide many South Africans with basic goods, Spar and Woolworths tend to cater to the upper and middle classes. These two retailers offering a greater variety of specialty items, including organic foods, GM free foods, imported luxury items and other premium goods.
While major international wholesalers like Wal-Mart are yet to establish franchises in South Africa, South Africans have access to a number of wholesale shopping outlets, with Game and Macro considered to be the biggest players in the South African wholesale and discount goods market.
A number of franchised fashion retailers are available in any South African mall. These South African stores attempt to combine quality with value, offering shoppers both branded international clothes as well as cheaper domestic brands. Edgars, Truworths and Foschini are just three of the fashion retailers popular amongst South African shoppers, offering shoppers the opportunity to benefit from zero interest store cards and other useful services.
South Africans are prodigious consumers of both foreign and domestic video and film. A number of 'warehouse' style retailers service this market, offering shoppers a staggering selection of international and domestic titles, and catering to every taste and budget. Musica, the largest South African music and video retailer, also offers a wide range of computer and gaming products.
Exclusive Books and Wordsworth are South Africa's two major book retailers. Both companies have stores situated in South African airports and malls, and provide browsers with a world class selection of international and local titles. While these two companies dominate the book market, a small selection of independent boutique bookstores thrive alongside these corporate giants and are well supported by both South African authors and the South African publishing industry.