Retailers brace for bumper festive season
By Joseph Booysen - Dec 19th 2017, 10:32
Despite tough trading conditions and subdued growth, retailers are set to have a bumper festive season.
Marketing manager at Canal Walk Shopping Centre Vanessa Herbst said the centre was set for a big festive season and was experiencing good foot traffic for December with over 119 000 shoppers already having visited on Black Friday (November 25).
Herbst said 2.4 million shoppers visited the centre during December last year.
“We anticipate an increase in the holiday season trade this December with top retail categories expected to be technology, toys, jewellery and gifting this festive season.”
Gavin Wood, chief executive at Canal Walk, said: “We are expecting the last minute rush on December 24, but the centre and its retailers are prepared for the increased number of shoppers.”
Herbst said extensive security measures were in place including closed-circuit television, 24-hour patrols by uniformed and plain-clothed guards and the centre had a tactical response vehicle and increased security presence on site.
“All in all, our retail forecast is positive for Christmas 2016.”
Wendy Radford, centre manager at Blue Route Mall, said: “Black Friday certainly marked the beginning of the festive season and we expect to see shoppers returning to their favourite centres and malls as the festive period draws closer.
"South Africans are savvy shoppers and we expect they will be seeking out all the best deals as per the Black Friday hype.”
The Shoprite Group said judging by the high level of customer loyalty the Checkers and Shoprite supermarkets enjoy, the group is expecting its stores to be very busy.
Alex Kabalin, retail executive at the V&A Waterfront, said the shopping centre had enjoyed a strong run for the past three years but are more conservative in their festive season trade outlook, coming off the back of a more subdued retail climate.
Reginald Bunton, centre manager at Gugulethu Square Shopping Centre, said he could not provide footfall stats as the centre is not fitted with foot counting devices. "Some national tenants base their turnover for the festive season over a six-week period. I have spoken with a few of them and was advised there was a slight improvement in sales over the same time period last year.”
Gwerega Mangozhe, chief executive at the Consumer Goods Council of SA, said this year has been challenging for the consumer goods sector mainly because of tough trading conditions characterised by subdued demand and sales.
Mangozhe said pressure on household incomes, which was exacerbated by high prices as a result of the depreciation of the rand against the dollar, affected spending, with families opting for essentials and spending less on big-ticket items such as furniture and electrical goods.
“Retailers have, however, been responding by offering discounts on selected items to boost sales and also cushion the impact on stretched family budgets."
"Indications are that retailers are bracing for a busy festive trading period despite the current tough trading climate.”
Antoinette Coetzee, retail asset manager for Redefine Properties, said Black Friday marked the beginning of the 2016 shopping season.
Coetzee said when looking at key sectors and trends, food categories are expected to perform well over the festive season again this year, as will health and beauty.
“The effect of currency volatility on electronics and imported luxury goods, however, could see people being more circumspect in that segment of the market.”© 2017 Independent Media and affiliated companies.
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