Publisher of leading trade magazines for the Footwear, Leather-goods, Leather & PPE industries

S&V Weekly Newsletter Vol.4 No.1, January 8, 2018

This Newsletter is sponsored by SAFLIA

We wish readers a happy New Year and a successful 2018

Please note: Click on any ad to go to the advertiser’s website


December trading: Not much Christmas cheer for most retailers

Most respondents in southern Africa reported disappointing - if not unexpected - December results. John Craig, the main exception among those interviewed, grew on the back of a major facelift. Black Friday appears to have negatively affected December trading. A lesson, for all retailers, is that forward planning needs to be improved.

South Africa

Nicole Van Doninck, marketing manager, John Craig. Chain, men's outfitter.
Johannesburg (SA) – We made changes to the product/merchandise in terms of product styles, looks, fits, trends, and fashionability without losing the quality and unique product detail that John Craig is known for. This planning was done in the early part of the year to be ready for the summer season. We wanted to attract a new customer to the John Craig stores, who is younger, more aware of trends and fashion, visits malls more frequently with family and friends, therefore shops more often. Price is a consideration and the pricing strategy ensured that we had the entry- and mid-tiered price points in key categories, such as shirts, denim, chinos, golfers to be affordable, quality on trend and fashionable. Along with this we also embarked on a total brand wrap of the stores, the window, the message, the call out of product, and this has been very well received.
       This total repositioning has seen the business growing at high double digits, both in units and sales. Even smaller stores that were slow have increased the sales and transactions. This a clear sign that the product assortment has gained a wider customer attraction – a big win, tells us the shift is moving in the right direction. The strategic alignment of the product styling and price has seen some significant sell-throughs especially  for areas like shirts, denims, shoes and jackets.
       The brand wrap has been completed in all stores both in windows and in store messaging about price points and categories. The marketing is critical to attract more feet into our stores. Once they are in, they are pleasantly surprised at our affordable price points and delighted by the styling and unbelievable value of the garments.
       We have achieved the budgets and targets set out for the Nov/Dec period and exceeded this in all categories from casual, smart, formal, footwear and accessories.
       Our plan for December was R53m we achieved R60m.
       Note that is a huge collaborative effort from all departments in the business – Merchandise/Operations/Marketing/Finance/HR/Stores and staff  – a shared vision, and trust in the execution.
       All bodes well for a good start to the 2018 trade. - +27 (0)11  479 0000,

Sanjay Bhagwandas, member, Ginger Bhagwandas Exclusive cc. Mini chain, men's and boys' fashion and accessories
Durban (SA) – Whilst we had a phenomenal Black Friday event as a prelude for festive season trading,  the event negatively affected October turnover as people saved their money for Black Friday.
       With the high unemployment and generally weak economy , we exercised more prudence with our purchases, by purchasing deeper into fashion brands that are working for us. As a result , our December sales were up marginally for our GBE stores and combined with reduced purchases taking inflation into account, our margins were that much greater. 
       We will maintain prudence in our purchases for at least the next 12 months until the benefit of the stronger rand takes effect during 2018, as can be expected from the Ramaphosa effect. Our upmarket stores will also benefit from a stronger rand with imports being cheaper leading to improved margins. - +27 (0)31 2012055

Mahmood Bulbulia, Proprietor, BB Shoe Centre. Independent, family footwear.
Johannesburg (SA) – Trade wasn't what we expected - it wasn't a December. Money is tight and only the cheaper merchandise sold. Black Friday may have had something to do with it. We also took part in Black Friday, but the Oriental Plaza wasn't able to pull the crowds for that event. - +27 (0)11 834 1620,

Tony Vanmali, member, John Saxon/Danley's. Independent, men's outfitter.
Carletonville (SA) – December was down on 2016, and the price of goods was up, so a double hit. Quite a few mine shafts in the area have closed, and all businesses were affected, including entertainment. Black Friday by contrast was quite good.
       Takkie-type footwear sold better than other shoes, but generally we've been left overstocked, and we'll have to work to keep our heads above water. - +27 (0)18 788 5312,

Cedric Miller, proprietor, Miller's. Independent, men's and women's outfitter, men's footwear.
Cape Town (SA) – Turnover was 5% down on the previous December, which was more-or-less in line with what we expected, because there was not the disposable income and consumers were more cautious.
       Black Friday made quite a difference to our business, and I think it moved quite a bit of what would otherwise have been December trade into November.
       January has started out very slowly, and we're not into back-to-school at all. What we generally find is that our regular customers wait for the back-to-school shoppers, with all the associated parking problems, to finish before they come out again. - +27 (0)21 854 8321,


Zaf Khan, director, Kopano Stores. Independent, men's outfitter.
Gaborone (Botswana) – December trade overall was static. Footwear was up 3% in value, with no increase in pairage.
       We were affected by a couple of new centres up north, offering lots of specials, and by road construction work in our area.
       Our target market is the medium- to upper level civil servant and similar, but it was still surprising that our best sellers were Crockett & Jones, Barker and Hush Puppies, in that order. The usual suspects weren't there, and we seem to be being pushed further upmarket by our consumers.
       We didn't take part in Black Friday, which was held for the first time in Botswana last year. By all accounts, those who did take part did well, and we will also do so this year.
       January has started surprisingly well. - +267 390 1096,


Maseemane Sebata, proprietor, Xclusive Shoes. Independent, women's footwear.
Maseru (Lesotho) – December was not bad at all, and was 10% up on the previous December. We opened in 2016, so 2017 was our first full year of trading.
       We did a lot of radio advertising, and we will start again this week for back-to-school.
       Consumers are cautious, balancing Christmas with back-to-school and groceries, but we're confident about January. - +266 2232 4055,


Cobus Moller, member, Pfohl's Men's Outfitters
Windhoek (Namibia) – We were down about 10%, and we consider ourselves lucky. Many businesses are talking about 40% or more down, and we expect worse to come this year.
       Everything that happens in South Africa filters through to us, and on top of that, the government has made a lot of mistakes.
       We were helped by the wedding season, which is traditionally in December, when people get their bonuses and they can buy suits. On the casual side, by contrast, we didn't sell a lot of shorts and that kind of wear. Footwear, overall, was OK.
       We didn't take part in Black Friday because we always have a sale at approximately that time of year. However, people were going crazy, and the retailers who benefitted were the South African chains, and not necessarily apparel chains - I think electronic goods and the like took away a lot of money that would otherwise have been spent on clothing.
       I know we'll have to do it this year, but I still have mixed feelings about it. - +264 (0)61 22 2990,


Mitesh Valob, director, Paramount Tailors & Outfitters (Pty) Ltd. Independent, men's outfitter.
Manzini (Swaziland) – Our turnover was 15%-18% up. We had some clothing specials, but I don't think they had that much of an effect, and I can't really explain why we were up, but we were.
       Black Friday was basically a South African chain exercise. We didn't take part, and I'm not temped to this year. - +268 (0)2 505 4609,



And in the US: Holiday Retail Sales Expected to Be Better Than 2016, But Deep Discounts Helped

By Peter Verry / December 27, 2017,
Although Christmas was only two days ago, retail industry insiders already have predictions on how business fared throughout the holiday shopping season — and the opinions are mixed.
       “Consumer confidence has been at an all-time high over the last few months, in addition to the unemployment rate being low and wages have slightly gone up year-over-year, which is allowing consumers to splurge and spend more than they normally would,” explained Ana Smith, senior director of media relations at the National Retail Federation.

8 Best Retail Rewards Programs That Make It Easy to Earn Money Back for Shoes & Clothes
       According to Smith, NRF forecasted between 3.6 percent and 4 percent sales growth for November and December, compared with the same months in 2016. She also stated that after seeing November results, the trade association believes the expectations will be met or exceed the 4 percent mark, resulting in roughly $682 billion expected for the holiday season.
       The top-performing categories, according to Smith, were e-commerce, groceries and apparel (which includes footwear).
       But Matt Powell, senior industry adviser for sports of The NPD Group, isn’t as hopeful — specifically with post-Christmas sales, which he said are vital to the sneaker industry.
       “I’m out doing some retail recon right now [Dec. 26] and I would say it looks very disappointing,” he said. “It really does not feel like the day after Christmas, that sort of frantic “Let’s get a deal.” The malls are full of kids, but they’re not buying anything.”
       Powell is also concerned with the amount of sales brands offered throughout the holday season.
       “It’s not a complete picture yet, but I can tell you from my eye, this was the most promotional holiday in all the years that I’ve been studying the business,” he said. “Brands were on sale more often, the breadth and depth of the discounts were deeper and wider than any previous year. What it says is, business wasn’t great, and retailers are trying to move product. They probably sacrificed margins for nominal sales increases.”
       Powell expects shoe chains such as Famous Footwear,Shoe Carnival and DSW to have the best showing throughout the holiday season, because this channel had the best performance throughout the fall. - Original Article



Durban (SA) – Former Bata SA Toughees brand manager Khutjo Madisha left at the end of September to set up his own business, Enlite Enterprise Sales & Marketing Consultancy. He is currently working with unit maker Planet Events and manufacturer Rapid Footwear, and also represents an Italian underwear brand. - +27 (0)76 941 5664,

Pinetown (SA) – His place at Bata has been taken by Michael Sithambaram, an internal appointment. - +27 (0)31 701 4951,



Dog shot numerous times – left to suffer

SPCA Statement, December 6, 2017
The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) are disgusted at the actions of a governmental official and his bodyguards for the unnecessary and cruel shooting of a dog in the Melmoth area on 25 November 2017.        Video footage of the incident surfaced on social media, bringing it to the attention of the NSPCA and Eshowe SPCA 5 days after the dog was shot. The Eshowe SPCA Inspector attended to the complaint as soon as he was made aware of the situation and found the dog still alive with multiple gunshot wounds. 5 days had lapsed and not a single person sought help for this animal, allowing it to suffer for a prolonged period of time.
       The video depicts a dog that is tied to a pole being repeatedly shot. A sentient being that was not posing any risk at the time, who was unable to escape this absolutely horrific and excruciating ordeal while bystanders just watch while he screams in agony. The men then just walk away, leaving the dog tied to the pole, completely unconcerned that he was still alive and still suffering. Showing absolutely no guilt for what they had just done.
       “We are devastated for this dog and for the community. The link between animal violence and human violence is not something we should ignore. The dog was shot in the presence of community members which included children; their leadership setting an example that it is acceptable to disregard sentient creatures and disrespect life. A leader that is breeding a violent culture” Meg Wilson, NSPCA Communications Unit Manager explained.
       The NSPCA will be prosecuting the case on behalf of the Eshowe SPCA. The charges have not been laid yet due to ongoing investigations. Unlike members of the public, the NSPCA undertake the investigation, collect evidence as well as witness statements and we submit an entire docket to the South African Police Services. The only work that the investigating officer has to do is obtain a statement from the accused.
       We know from experience that these cases are always remanded, mostly more than twice. Our offices are 514 km from this area so travelling and accommodation costs are going to impact the Organisation. The NSPCA pleads to members of the public to make any contribution to this case, to ensure that at least some of our costs are covered. Any money not utilised for the purposes of this prosecution will be returned.
Our bank details are as follows:
National Council of SPCAs
Standard Bank
Account number: 201032015
Branch code: 051001
Reference: Justice for Melmoth Dog



Exchange rates


  Euro € GBP £ US $ Yuan Renminbi ¥
11/12/2017 R15.82 R17.99 R13.40 R2.03
05/01/2018 R14.86 R16.69 R12.33 R1.90



Birthdays this week

08/01/1972: Imtiaz Butler, agent, Durban.
09/01/1962: Ming-Ter Tso, Mingfay International Trade, Johannesburg.
10/01/1947: Pieter de Villiers, Shoes & Do’s, Pretoria.
10/01/1955: HR Hassim, Suliman Jooma & Son, Pretoria.
10/01/1960: Viroo Harry, Mr Man, Grahamstown.
10/01/1982: Arnold Britten, Zambezi Tanners, Bulawayo.
11/01/1954: Dilip Merchant, Merchant’s Outfitters, Port Elizabeth.
11/01/1958: Michael Prinsloo, Shoelettes, Cape Town.
12/01/1936: Reg Hattingh, agent, Johannesburg.
12/01/1946: Walter Kassier, Eston Leather, Eston.
12/01/1954: Dave Nagle, agent, Port Elizabeth.
12/01/1957: Melanie Thompson, Little Slipper Co., Port Elizabeth.
13/01/1958: Dr Karl-Rudolf Gassen, Lanxess SA, Johannesburg.
13/01/1966: Farhad Fakir, Tasmo Agencies, Johannesburg.
14/01/19??: Sylvia De Gouveia, Fashion Centre, Kroonstad.
14/01/1947: Billy Robinson, retired, formerly Billy Bob Trading [closed], Durban.
14/01/1960: Yusuf Tikly, Legends, Zeerust.


In Memoriam this week

14/01/2004: Louis Nossel (b. 01/12/1931), Dolltown Shoes [closed], Pinetown.
14/01/2017: Donald Taisekwa Mandirahwe (b. 29/09/1942), Cathula Sandals, Harare.

Do you have any names you’d like to add to our list of birthdays and In Memoriam? Please send the details.


ABSA Agri Trends 14/12: Hides & skins prices

The average hide price over the past week was R11.53/kg green. NB* Hide prices are determined by the average of the RMAA (Red Meat Abattoir Association) and independent companies. The average price for Dorper skins was R35.50, and for Merino skins was R91.86.

Hide & skin price progression
Date Hides/Kg Dorper/Skin Merino Skin
19/01 15.34 45.56 81.38
24/01 15.17 40.92 89.52
31/01 15.10 46.00 94.55
14/02 14.65 47.33 95.29
15/03 14.25 39.30 78.75
24/03 14.13 45.27 94.45
28/03 14.07 45.27 94.45
04/04 14.83 41.92 87.58
11/04 14.68 41.92 84.12
19/04 14.77 43.85 92.32
25/04 14.75 41.25 92.27
04/05 14.79 43.33 92.69
10/05 14.75 40.50 88.41
16/05 14.58 40.83 90.96
31/05 14.62 40.50 87.95
09/06 14.58 41.82 96.35
23/06 14.40 40.42 101.25
29/06 14.30 41.36 98.44
07/07 14.33 43.33 100.94
13/07 14.37 44.44 114.58
28/07 14.14 43.64 97.50
04/08 14.16 43.69 99.64
14/08 14.08 38.99 92.75
18/08 13.70 43.18 98.96
25/08 13.93 43.75 100.96
01/09 13.14 44.09 101.25
08/09 12.88 41.82 100.83
21/09 12.64    
03/10 12.50    
11/10 12.52    
20/10 12.23 39.30 110.23
27/10 12.12 37.30 94.32
02/11 12.19    
10/11 12.24 37.00 101.75
30/11 11.82 32.56 94.25
07/12 11.76 35.50 92.50


Trade Fair dates

For a list of local and international trade fairs covering footwear, leather goods, leather and PPE, visit our website:


Classified Adverts

Needed: A footwear mentor for a new brand owner

I am looking for a business mentor in the shoe industry. I have just started a shoe brand and I would like mentorship in any and all parts of the shoe business.  I have used business mentors before, but I find if they do not know much about the shoe industry, and it can sometimes feel like a waste of time. 

  I am willing to pay for the mentorship, even if it's a Skype call or a meeting once a month. I am also willing to work for the mentorship if required. 

  Yiota Christoforou +27 (0)72 455 8600,

Lots and lots of experience on offer!

I am seeking to obtain a position in the footwear industry which I have enjoyed working in since 1972.
- I have worked in sales as an agent (Rockshoes / Paradise Wholesalers);
- As a chain footwear buyer and later merchandise director (for The Hub, Stuttafords and Footgear), and later as senior footwear buyer for Game / Massmart;
- As a manufacturer (I started Tuppino Footwear in 1992);
- As an independent retailer (I had 4 stores at one point).
The Footwear Industry has and always will be of interest to me, be it sales or in a management capacity or as a buyer, and I believe I have boundless expertise and enthusiasm to offer a wide variety of businesses in the industry. Prepared to relocate if required. - Neil Tupper, Cell: 0827732221, Email :


Contact us

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Next newsletter: January 15, 2018.

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