Current Project

Impact of Supermarkets on Informal Business
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An assessment of the impact of retail malls, supermarkets and wholesalers on informal trading in food within the Philippi Industrial Precinct

Lead: Dr Andrew Charman
Project manager: Kayla Brown
Project collaborator: Assistant Professor Sophie Bacq
Funders: Centre of Excellence in Food Security, Institute for Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), UWC


The Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation has collaborated with the Centre of Excellence in Food Security (CoEFS) and the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of the Western Cape to undertake an assessment of the impact of retail malls, supermarkets and wholesalers on informal trading in food within the Philippi Industrial Precinct, Cape Town. The aim of the research is to produce evidence of the impact (positive and negative) of formal businesses on informal businesses and food sellers, especially with respect to micro-enterprises operating within the precinct. The Philippi precinct can potentially provide valuable insight into this question due to the high concentration of both formal and informal food retailers as well as the site’s close proximity to the Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA).

The project entails the following components:

  • A business survey of informal traders,
  • Qualitative interviews with informal traders operating as meat braaiers, selling take-aways, and fruit and vegetable sellers.
  • A household survey in the settlements of BetterLife and Phola Park to understand consumer shopping with respect to supermarkets and street traders.
  • A spatial and ethnographic study of formal retail businesses within the Philippi Precinct.

Funders & Partners