How close is a competitor allowed to place their store to a...

How close is a competitor allowed to place their store to a similar business within the law?


Some retailers may want a retail location that isn’t near any of your competitors. However, there is no law in South Africa that states that you cannot open the same type of retail business right next door to another retailer selling the same type of goods.

Check the terms of your lease agreement

“Each lease agreement contains a trading clause. Before signing a lease, the document should be carefully read. Make sure that it is very specific about what you can or cannot do”, advises Lizelle Cloete of Broll Commercial Properties who manage large shopping malls such as Southgate and Cresta Shopping Centre.

“There are no laws, or exclusivity clauses that can prevent certain types of retail stores opening next to each other, but the management company looking after the property should sort out and manage an issue of this kind,” says Cloete.

Make the most of your retail space

A retail operation’s space is usually subdivided among display, office and storage. As a rule of thumb, office and storage spaces take up 10 to 25 percent of the total floor area.

While the storage and office spaces are important parts of any retail operation – to handle shipping and receiving and related chores, to take care of paperwork, and to store extra inventory – you want to get the most out of all space that is not used for display and sales.

This is where good organisational skills come in handy, along with shelves and cabinets and anything else that helps you maximise your space. If you are not an organiser by nature, hire someone who is. Look in the Yellow Pages under “Organising Services – Household and Business” or ask for recommendations.

Retail space comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and may be located in free-standing buildings, enclosed malls, strip shopping centres, downtown shopping districts or mixed-use facilities.

You will also find retail space in airports and other transportation facilities, hotel lobbies, sports stadiums and temporary or special-event venues.

Got a retail location?

Ask yourself these questions to make sure your store has the “eye appeal” it needs to keep customers coming back:

  • Are your shelves clean and neat? Is merchandise displayed so people can see it easily?
  • Is the area around your cash registers or terminals clean and orderly?
  • Can you find forms, packaging and related materials quickly and easily?
  • Are light fixtures clean, bright and working properly?
  • Is there plenty of room between counters and shelves so that aisles are wide and free of barriers? Are glass surfaces clean and floors vacuumed or swept and scrubbed regularly?

Keeping an eye on these factors will help create a welcome environment for your customers.

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