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Retail last week: Comment from 5 retailers on Saturday 07/09/2019

Published: 9th Sep 2019
Author: Tony Dickson - S&V Editor

"This last week has been good, except today, which has been absolutely dead, although Saturdays are normally busy. It's been good since the beginning of the month, but the year as a whole has been about 20% down. We're promoting ourselves through social media, and we've created a website. We wanted to try online retail, but the time isn't right. At the moment you have to give more discounts. Usually 10% was enough, but now it's often 15%, even 20% to get the sale." - Shiraz Osman, Gaby's Funky Fashion, Pretoria, Gauteng, SA. Independent, 2 stores, men's and women's clothing, men's, women's and children's footwear.

"The first few after month end are quite good. Traditionally, from the 25th to the end of the month are also good trading days, but not now. As we move towards Christmas, there are a few green shoots, and I just hope the fourth quarter will be better. As far as stock is concerned, I buy products that are in constant demand, and make sure I have enough stock so that when the customer comes in, we have what he wants in terms of brand, style and colour. It's not necessarily cheap footwear, because we cater to the middle class and up, and we have a reputation for selling quality products. We read there has been some growth, but it has to filter down to our level." - Sunil Bhagwandas, Ginger Bhagwandas, Durban, KZN, SA. Mini-chain, 6 stores, men's outfitter.

"We were closed for one-and-a-half days this week because there were rumours of attacks. There's a criminal element that hides behind the attacks on foreigners, and they target the stores with expensive merchandise, irrespective of who owns them. The whole of Gauteng is tense. The year as a whole has been down, but generally we have maintained, despite the unemployment and other problems. We all have to try harder, just with simple things like cleaning outside your store to make it more attractive to shoppers. You can tell whether a store is owned by locals or foreigners just by whether it's clean or dirty outside. I'm an optimist - you can't carry on if you're not - but the only time things will improve is if the government is bold and does things. The president hasn't come to the party yet." - Seroze Akoodie, member, Gino Armani, Springs, Gauteng, SA. Independent, 1 store, men's outfitter.

"This week has been terrible. The retail environment is very erratic, and it's affected by everything - government, the economy, crime. You can have a good day, a bad day, an okay day - it's impossible to predict. I know money is tight, but I think people are holding back because of negative sentiment, rather than because they don't have money to spend. For the year so far, turnover is down and overheads are up. I've tried everything I can think of - in-store advertising, sales. When I think we're running a bit lean on stock, I've put in more. But I honestly don't know whether it's made a difference. Now we're just going carefully and hopefully things will improve." - Billy Goott, director, Glamour Shoes, Johannesburg, Gauteng, SA. Independent, 2 stores, women's shoes and bags.

"This week has picked up quite nicely. I hope it goes on that way. The year so far hasn't been great, and sort of on a par with last year, up here and there. My strategy is to stick with the basics, which make up 80% of my stock." - Maurice Edelstein, proprietor, H. Schneider Retailers, Cape Town, W Cape, SA. Independent, 1 store, men's outfitter.

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