Research Landscape

retaillandscapeThere are a large number of educational institutions offering retail programmes in South Africa and abroad. The growing importance of the field of study also resulted in a number of dedicated retail research units being established world wide at universities since the early 1980’s. The establishment of the Retail Chair at CPUT is the first of its kind in South Africa and possibly in Africa . Research units cannot effectively function in isolation, and it is of the utmost importance to develop linkages with similar institutions worldwide. Linking up with international retail research networks are therefore essential for the Retail Chair at CPUT.


By clicking on the links below and then searching in the “Research” and/or “Publication” links, you can often get access to research papers and reports produced by these research centres.


International research centres

Retail business management programmes – Universities

Retail Journals

The Journal of Business and Retail Management Research –

International Journal of Retail Management and Research –

European Retail Research –

The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research –

International Journal of e-business Research –

International Journal of the Retail Industry –

Journal of Retailing –

Global Journal of Retail Management –

The Oliver Wyman Retail Journal ––lt-br-gt–retail-journal-vol–2.html#.VLUAM9KUdTI

Journal of Consumer Research –

Journal of Retail and Leisure Property –

Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services –

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management Information –

Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Consumer Research –

International Journal of Retailing and Distribution Management –

International Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing –

International Retail and Marketing Review –

Journal of Retail Analytics –

International Journal of Research in Marketing –

Indian Journal of Marketing –

India Retail Review –

European Journal of Marketing –

Journal of International Consumer Marketing –

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Journal of International Marketing –

Journal of Marketing –

Journal of Consumer Marketing Information –

International Journal of Online Marketing –

South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences  –

RFID Retail –

Journal of Small Business –

Christian Retailing –


Retail research institutions in the world

Retail research is not limited to the retail research centres referrred to above. Much of the research is done by academics not linked to any of the centres. A considerable amount of research is also done by private companies all over the world. Private companies often focus on market analysis and trends, as well as locational studies.

In South Africa a substantial amount of research is done by private consulting firms such as:

  • Doug Parker and Associates, a Cape Town based company established in 1978.
  • Urban Studies, started by Dr Dirk Prinsloo in Pretoria in 1990.
  • Fernridge, founded in 2002 by Stephen Walters and Sybrand Strauss in Johannesburg.

These companies focus mostly on locational studies. Market reports in South Africa are done by:

  • Auditing firms such as Price Waterhouse Coopers
  • The Bureau of Market research at UNISA
  • The Business Monitor International, a London based group

Wholesale and Retail SETA

The Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority (W&RSETA) was established as a legal entity on 20 March 2000 in terms of the Skills Development Act, No. 97 of 1998. This public entity aims to provide for the skills development needs of the Wholesale and Retail (W&R) sector through the implementation of learnerships, disbursement of grants and monitoring of education and training.

The W&RSETA aims to increase the level of investment in education and training in the sector and to improve the return on that investment. It seeks to contribute to the socio-economic development and growth of the country by enabling education and training of the highest quality in the W&R sector, to the benefit of employers, employees and learners respectively. Visit the WRSETA website 

Retail sic codes

The standard Industrial classification system used in South Africa forms the basis on which the various Sector education training authorities (Seta’s) are mandated to manage skills training. The Sic codes used by the W&R Seta covers divisions 61-63. View a pdf version of the Retail Sic codes for details of the codes.

Retail Business in South Africa

The South African retail market is a giant compared to the rest of Africa, but also the 20th largest in the world. In 2011 retail sales for the first time in history surpassed the one trillion rand mark. Yet the retail market is dominated by only about a dozen large holding companies which collectively own the majority of the country’s biggest brands. The biggest of these: Shoprite,Pick n Pay, Spar and Massmart – account for about 80% of local retail sales.With the exception of Massmart, which was taken over in 2011 by Wallmart, the world’s largest retailer, all the others are South African owned. Because of the dominance of the larger players, the South African retail industry continues to move toward mall-based retailing. Despite the dominance of large groups, there are several thousand medium and small operations, of which a significant portion consists of informal traders. In fact, the lower end of the scale is characterised by about a 100 000 informal spaza shops with an estimated annual turnover of over R7 billion. The global economic uncertainty, together with rising inflation and commodity prices, as well as the escalating cost of electricity and fuel, has dampened sales volume in this sector. Volume growth for 2012 was only 0,7% and the economic outlook going forward for the next five years is expected to be moderate to unspectacular. Another characteristic of the South African retail industry is the way how many of the larger players in the market have responded to the low growth scenario. Several of them have expanded their activities into Africa. South African retailers are perhaps leading the second scramble for Africa.