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Jeaneration: Be efficient, be innovative

Published: 31st Oct 2017
Author: Firoz Jeewa; GM; Jeaneration Shoes cc - Importer and wholesalers of women’s and children’s shoes
Durban, SA - Trading conditions have become more difficult largely because of the heightened economic and political uncertainty over the last few months. The forex rate is generally seen as a thermometer for the health of an economy, and when the Rand strengthened at the beginning of 2017 many thought that the recessionary trading conditions were over. We however remained cautious in our buying, and adopted a wait and see approach. As we all know, the politics and government policy in this country have a significant effect on the economy, and that took centre stage this year, negatively affecting GDP, unemployment, business confidence and the forex rate.
Turnover has been more or less the same in 2017 as compared to 2016, with the bear market in the latter part of 2017 offsetting the bullish sentiment at the beginning of the year. We continue to focus on improving efficiencies, reducing costs and adapting stock turnover strategies to improve cash flow, just as we have been doing for the last 4 years. We have had massive success in cost containment by eliminating interest & borrowing costs simply by improving our cash flow planning, and reducing insurance costs by switching to a mechanism of self insurance. We have also identified niches in the shoe market that are currently being underserved and we hope to diversify into these in 2018, so keep a lookout for some hot new products. 
At the same time, we hope to step up our social welfare projects as we cannot ignore our responsibility as business to assist the poor and needy, especially in these trying times. Poverty and inequality have wide ranging consequences and also significantly impacts the greater economy. We have taken the policy approach that any assistance given to the underprivileged is actually an investment, with far reaching returns for ourselves and humanity at large.
We expect 2018 to start off bearish, continuing from the trend at the end of 2017, such that turnover will remain flat. The fact that consumers showed signs of being more adventurous in their spending at times in 2017, and that other emerging economies in the world are showing strong growth, indicates that the state of business in SA has the potential to improve vastly as soon as there is some stability in government. We hope to see some of these effects in the latter part of 2018, God willing, and we are preparing for that upsurge in GDP growth.
©2017 S&V Publications
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