Shopping will never be the same again.

That is the view of Durban consumers after Judge Dennis Davis dismissed an application to review and set aside the Competition Tribunal’s approval of the merger by US retail giant Walmart and local group Massmart.

The ruling means that Walmart’s merger with Massmart was approved, subject to conditions by the Competition Appeals Court.

Durban consumers have welcomed the news that Walmart, which has operations in 14 African countries, will soon be opened in SA.

“Shoppers have been exploited for a very long time in this country,” said Ronald Pillay.

The 47-year-old Durban father said the ruling meant that consumers would finally be spoilt for choice when deciding which retailer to buy from.

“Hopefully this will mean the country’s major retailers will be forced to reduce their prices so they can compete with Walmart,” he said.

Andre Visagie, 55, said the merger would create job opportunities for the thousands of unemployed South Africans.

Lejean Williams, of Berea, a customer of major retailer Makro, said: “If Walmart offers me better prices, then best believe that I will become one of their loyal customers.”

Letswisa Khaloli, of Umbilo, said he was looking forward to the shop’s 24-hour operating times.

“I hear Walmart is opened all day every day and that is good news for any shopper.”

Pat Rickard said she had mixed feelings about the judgment.

“There’s an advantage and a disadvantage to this ruling. On the one hand the ruling will serve as a wake-up call to the country’s major retail shops, but I can’t help but feel that Walmart is just using South Africa to open more of their stores in Africa,” she said.

Nosipho Ngubane, of Greytown, said she hoped that the shop would be up and running before the end of the year.

“I love the fact that Walmart operates 24 hours a day. As a mother of a young baby, I sometimes run out of baby food or nappies late at night.”