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Industry News

South African & East African Footwear and Leather Goods, Leather and PPE industry news.

Wizard's Vintage: Second hand goods for the rich

Published: 23rd Mar 2021
Author: Tony Dickson - S&V Editor
Johannesburg, Gauteng - Unusually among retailers currently, 'pre-owned luxury designer brand' retailer Wizard's Vintage is "very busy", showroom manager Karen Orzol said.
Wizard's Vintage takes apparel on consignment, and has about 10 000 items in stock, she said.
"During the lockdown, many women had clearouts, and the people who shop here still have money. There are a lot of people who will only wear something once."
On its Facebook page, the business describes its business model this way: "Buying vintage is great for the aspirational shopper who wants to own the big labels, but doesn’t necessarily have the budget to buy Armani straight off the rack. Importantly, it’s also a way to recycle..."

She said the business never buys in new stock, and turns away many items. 

Zip-Code: Changes starting to pay off

Published: 23rd Mar 2021
Author: Tony Dickson - S&V Editor
Umhlanga, KZN - Women' boutique Zip-Code was particularly badly hit by the various lockdowns because it specialised in "going out wear", member Clare Jones said, "and none of that's happening".
Zip-Code sells locally-made clothing which she designs
"We weren't in a good place before Covid," she said, "and we struggled through it. December started well, but with that lockdown we had the worst December ever.
"However, in the last week, business has started to get a lot better. I've just signed another 2-year lease, so let's hope it continues that way."
Zip-Code's response to conditions included closing its second store, in La Lucia Mall, adding "slightly more casual" clothing, and promoting its online business. "That's grown exponentially," she said, "but we're still very new at it, and it has its own costs".

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'

Published: 22nd Mar 2021
Author: Tony Dickson - S&V Editor
Windhoek - "We're actually among the lucky firms," said sales representative Samantha Pieterse of PPE distributor J. Gerdes Uniwear. "A lot of companies have closed down, and business is a bit up and down, but overall we're trading quite well."

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

Published: 15th Mar 2021
Author: Hardus Labuschagne

"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'

Published: 15th Mar 2021
Author: Rob Cattell

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.

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