South African & East African Footwear and Leather Goods, Leather and PPE industry news.
Wizard's Vintage: Second hand goods for the rich
She said the business never buys in new stock, and turns away many items.
Zip-Code: Changes starting to pay off
Also, it has dropped footwear. "The rental is very high, and we can't get enough margin selling someone else's brands," she said. She said she had tried stocking leather handbags, but "my customers are more after cheap and cheerful - they don't understand leather".
J. Gerdes Uniwear: 'Among the lucky few'
Although the business doesn't carry facemasks, she said sourcing any forms of disposable PPE from South Africa had become more difficult, and they had had to find alternative sources for some products.
Big & Tall: Still some 'mad days', but quantities down
"Some days we run around like mad people, others, we just mind the shop," was how Big & Tall Gents' Outfitters manager Hardus Labuschagne described business.
The 'mad' days are generally Saturdays, while during the rest of the week it's mostly one customer at a time, he said.
While the feet are still there, the volumes they buy are significantly down, he said. "We don't get the regulars coming in and spending R16 000 or R17 000. Now it's more R1 500 to R3 000 - working from home clothing, basically."
Footwear sales, likewise, are mostly sneakers. "When someone buys formal footwear now, it's either because he's starting a new job, or his shoes are so worn out he has to change them."
He said the business hasn't changed the type of merchandise it buys, but it has reduced quantities. "For example we used to buy 20 to 30 belts at a time. Now it's 15 to 20."
Cattell's: 'It's all about service'
Springs, Gauteng – "I can't complain," said Cattell's Industrial Footwear owner Rob Cattell. "January was on par with last year, February was slightly up. This month will be down on last year, because it was in March last year that the first lockdown started."
That good month last March is something of an anomaly, because safety footwear - which is all that Cattell's supplies - isn't PPE that has benefitted from the virus and the various lockdowns.
"I do well because I have the stock," he said, "and I always have the stock. It's all about service. Some other distributors haven't been able to get stock."
It can be a challenge: courtesy of the global shipping logjam, 450 pairs of Caterpillar boots which should have arrived last March have arrived now.
Cattell's sources from 4 suppliers and "90% of our business" is supplying resellers.