Black Fri­day boom is shak­ing SA re­tail­ers’ Christ­mas tree

Sunday Times - - Business Consumer - By NTANDO THUKWANA

● Black Fri­day, the US shop­ping phe­nom­e­non that started gain­ing trac­tion in SA in 2015, may be dis­plac­ing Christ­mas as the main shop­ping event of the year.

Statis­tics SA re­tail sales trade data show that since 2015 sales dur­ing the De­cem­ber hol­i­day sea­son have taken a dip af­ter Novem­ber sales get a boost.

Black Fri­day, dubbed the most im­por­tant day on the re­tail cal­en­dar, may shift the shop­ping sea­son, but other fac­tors in­clud­ing cur­rency move­ment and macro­eco­nomics would also af­fect con­sumers’ spend­ing pat­terns, Lester Davids, a trading desk an­a­lyst with Unum Cap­i­tal, said.

The fun­da­men­tals of the econ­omy, are “a huge fac­tor in terms of sen­ti­ment for con­sumers as well as re­tail­ers them­selves be­ing able to push through cost in­creases be­cause of the rand,’’ he said.

Takealot, which claims to have in­tro­duced Black Fri­day pro­mo­tions in SA and ran a five-day Blue Dot sale, reached record sales this year of R196m — a 125% year-onyear growth in gross mer­chan­dise value.

Best sellers in­cluded fra­grances, such as Tommy Hil­figer’s Girl, the best-sell­ing toy was the Jeron­imo My First Sewing Machine and the most pop­u­lar book was Prooi by Deon Meyer. Elec­tronic de­vices, ap­pli­ances and baby prod­ucts such as nap­pies, were also snapped up.

Its sub­sidiary, on­line fash­ion store Su­per­bal­ist, gen­er­ated more than R40m on the day, with footwear and ac­ces­sories top­ping best-sell­ing items.

Luke Jedeikin, co-CEO of Su­per­bal­ist, said “since Su­per­bal­ist.com first took part in Black Fri­day in 2014, sales have more than dou­bled each year. This year, Black Fri­day came just two months af­ter the merger with Spree and so we saw an even big­ger in­crease. We also ex­tended our Black Fri­day sale to run across five days, mak­ing this year big­ger than ever.”

Game stores and gro­cery re­tailer Pick n Pay also said Black Fri­day sales were grow­ing each year.

“Many cus­tomers took ad­van­tage of our gro­cery deals to stock up on ev­ery­day pantry prod­ucts. Big-ticket goods such as TVs were also very pop­u­lar as cus­tomers looked for the best deals on the items they have been sav­ing for,” John Brad­shaw, head of mar­ket­ing at Pick n Pay, said.

Debit and credit card trans­ac­tions reached 4.8-mil­lion, rep­re­sent­ing 4% yearon-year growth, ac­cord­ing to BankservAfrica.

On­line trans­ac­tions ac­counted for 7.7% of all card trans­ac­tions, ac­cord­ing to au­to­mated pay­ments clear­ing house BankServAfrica.

David Shapiro, deputy chair­man at Sas­fin Se­cu­ri­ties, said the de­clin­ing De­cem­ber fig­ures were tak­ing place glob­ally as con­sumers were look­ing for bar­gains on high ticket goods dur­ing Black Fri­day.

Re­tail data show sales of white goods and fur­ni­ture have been one of the best per­form­ing re­tail cat­e­gories this year and strong de­mand is likely to have con­tin­ued in Novem­ber, boosted by Black Fri­day.

The re­tail sec­tor glob­ally had “a mas­sive run in Novem­ber”, Shapiro said.

“These spe­cial days do dis­tort the tra­di­tional fig­ures.

“Novem­ber has be­come a very big month. The hol­i­day sea­son starts in Novem­ber in the US and it takes away from De­cem­ber in a big way, es­pe­cially with the big ticket items,” he said.

These spe­cial days do dis­tort tra­di­tional fig­ures David Shapiro

Deputy chair­man at Sas­fin Se­cu­ri­ties

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