Hard times: sell up or buy old?

2008-08-29 00:00

Many pawnbrokers and owners of second-hand stores are experiencing a boom in trade as tougher financial times begin to hit home.

A Weekend Witness survey of a number of second-hand dealers and pawnbrokers revealed that more people are now willing to part with their goods, particularly higher value items such as gold jewellery, laptops and personal computers, hi-fi and home theatre systems, gaming consoles and cellphones.

In addition, many people have turned to stores selling second-hand goods as they cannot afford to buy new goods.

Owner-franchisee of Cash Crusaders at Capital Centre, Wayne Beaumont, told Weekend Witness that more people in higher-income brackets are selling goods outright or requesting the “buy-back” option when bringing in goods.

He said there has been an increase in the number of people bringing in high value items in particular.

“Lots of people are borrowing money with the intention of coming in later [buy-backs], but many do not [come back]. The cancellation rate is higher. It’s a [Cash Crusaders] group phenomenon.”

The owner of All Our Yesterdays, Chris Degenaar, said although many locals are reluctant to part with their “treasured” items, the selling trend has picked up over the past year.

Degenaar added that many people do come back to claim their goods, particularly gold jewellery.

Beaumont said in contrast to the growth in higher-income “sellers”, more people in lower-income groups are buying goods.

He noted that the retail business has picked up, with higher levels of foot traffic evident.

“People can’t afford new goods so they opt for quality second-hand goods.”

Degenaar said some people are also willing to part with antiques, figurines, porcelain and “solid English silver”.

However, these trends have not been experienced by all business owners.

Cash Converters Pietermaritzburg franchisees, Jeremy and Christiane Varney, said it has largely been business as usual this year, apart from a mild upswing over the past four months. They believe that retailers operating the new goods sector are being hit particularly hard, as many people can no longer afford to buy new goods.

The owner of another well-established pawn-broking and second-hand store in the CBD said he has not experienced an upswing.

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