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How Black Friday ruined Christmas for SA retailers

Feb 17 2017 11:49
Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town – South African consumers shifted their Christmas spending from December to November, with Black Friday retail promotions changing their purchasing behaviour.

That is the view of Stefan Salzer, partner and managing director at The Boston Consulting Group. “Black Friday was firmly established in South Africa at the expense of Christmas,” he said.

Salzer was commenting on data released by Statistics SA on Wednesday, which revealed a significant slowdown in retail sales growth in December after a sharp rise in November.

It reported a 0.9% year-on-year (y/y) increase in December retail trade, following the 3.1% y/y increase in November.

“The 0.9% increase in December is not very much,” said Salzer. “If you compare that to November, you can see how far it came down.

“Black Friday was really big this year,” he said. “That led to a crazy jump in November trade. People pulled forward a large chunk of their Christmas spend to black Friday.

“Looking at the whole year, there wasn’t really any growth due to Black Friday,” he said. “It was a shift in time when people had the money to spend.”

Hyper- and supermarkets took the biggest knock between November and December, going from a 3.5% increase in November to a 3.8% drop in December.

“Hyper- and supermarkets benefited the most from Black Friday,” he said. “They were also the major inhibitor of growth in December."

The December performers came from the textile sector, which grew sales by 10.5% in December. “They pushed the December figures into positive, as they didn’t push as aggressively on Black Friday,” said Salzer.

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black friday  |  retail  |  christmas

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