Black Friday frenzy grows, but fewer discounts offered | Fin24
 
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Black Friday frenzy grows, but fewer discounts offered

Nov 26 2017 06:00
Justin Brown

The level of the involvement of retailers, malls and other South African companies in the international global Black Friday sale phenomenon looked like it had increased on Friday.

However, walk around Joburg’s main shopping centres and the Mall of Africa in Midrand, showed that many stores appeared to have reduced the number of items that they discounted, compared with
last year.

Still, there were some substantial discounts on offer, with some companies advertising as much as 80% of some products.

The Black Friday specials definitely lured scores of shoppers into malls and major supermarkets.

More retailers added their names to the Black Friday extravaganza this year, however, some of the larger chains gave it a skip, including Woolworths, Cashbuild and DIY Depot.

One company that made a big Black Friday pitch was Samsung, which specifically focused on lowering the price of its TVs.

Johan Enslin, the CEO of Lewis Group, said the company would be taking part in Black Friday for the first time this year via its Beares brand.

Ram Ottapathu, the CEO of Botswana’s multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer Choppies, also said that this was the first year the company offered a coordinated Black Friday campaign in all the countries Choppies operated in.

“In previous years, we have had some special offers in certain markets and this has generated a positive appetite from the majority of consumers on the continent for quality products that present value for money,” he said.

“This year, we are conservatively anticipating an increase of 25% in sales compared to normal shopping days,” Ottapathu added.

Clicks chief operating officer Vikesh Ramsunder said that the pharmaceutical retailer first took part in Black Friday in 2015 and the company once again anticipated a spike in sales over the weekend.

David North, Pick n Pay’s executive for strategy and corporate affairs, said: “We first started Black Friday promotions three years ago and its popularity has grown every year to become our biggest annual one-day promotion.”

Due to the expected higher demand, Pick n Pay hypermarkets opened as early as 7am on Friday. Normally, these stores open between 8am and 9am.

Game at the Mall of Africa opened at 6am on Friday rather than its usual 9am, and excited shoppers dashed inside to get hold of cheaper than usual TVs, fridges, cellphones, small appliances and garden equipment.

Shoprite said its stores countrywide participated in Black Friday for the first time.

The decision to introduce Black Friday to Shoprite’s 458 stores in addition to the 202 Checkers stores guaranteed the country’s biggest Black Friday, the retail group said.

Annaleigh Vallie, a Massmart spokesperson, said: “We run Black Friday promotions in our Builders, Makro, Game and DionWired stores, and have being doing so for the past three years.

“Our Black Friday sales are among the highest in our annual promotional calendar.”

Jacqui O’Sullivan, an MTN spokesperson, said: “This day is increasingly gaining popularity and is becoming a major shopping trend in South Africa, and customers are always on the lookout for specials.”

The SA Council of Shopping Centres said research conducted among 75 shopping centres in the country showed that an average of 3.2% of tenants participated in Black Friday in 2015, and an average of 21% of tenants participated last year, an increase of 17.8% year on year.

Fin24 reported that surging visitor demand on Friday crashed Takealot.com and websites across the Foschini Group.

Takealot started with Black Friday in South Africa in 2012. During Black Friday in 2015, Takealot.com earned R17.5 million in turnover, which grew to R56m last year.

“We are expecting anything between R80m and R130m this Black Friday,” Takealot.com chief executive Kim Reid said earlier this month.

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday is an informal name for the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States (the fourth Thursday of November), which has been regarded as the beginning of the country’s Christmas shopping season since 1952.

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