SA's shops will be stocked for Black Friday, festive season - despite supply chain problems

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Retailers say they have enough products for Black Friday and festive season shopping.
Retailers say they have enough products for Black Friday and festive season shopping.
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  • Countries across the globe are finding their footing after a long period of Covid-19-induced restrictions and business disruptions
  • But supply chain issues add a new challenge.
  • However, in South Africa, some retailers are confident that consumers will not only be able to get great Black Friday deals next month, but they’ll also have a jolly festive season.  

Some of South Africa’s biggest retailers say global supply chain issues will not be a problem for people who want to take advantage of Black Friday specials next month or get started on their Christmas shopping.

Countries across the globe are finding their footing after a long period of Covid-19-induced restrictions and business disruptions. But now they are faced with another hurdle - supply chain shortages, because while some countries are recovering, others are still trying to manage the pandemic.

In Vietnam, for instance, factory closures mean that popular brands like Nike and Adidas are stuck with product delays. Port closures and blockages have also put a spanner in the works. But the UK, is struggling with the double-edged sword impact of the pandemic, and Brexit, following an exodus of workers such as truck drivers and butchers, who have left the country.

And with the festive season fast approaching, consumers are in for a tough shopping period.

But back in South Africa, some retailers are confident that consumers will not only be able to get great Black Friday deals next month, but they’ll also have a jolly festive season.  

Supermarket chains Shoprite and Checkers said they are well prepared for the season and have "millions" of products ready for consumers.

"Although there are constraints global supply chains and ports, the Shoprite Group continues to monitor the supply chain situation and remains in daily contact with factories, suppliers and other relevant stakeholders to adequately manage the flow of goods and product distribution," said the supermarket group.

The group added that its ability to visibly track and monitor orders and shipments, allows it to plan and deal with sudden supply changes. 

Massmart, the owner of stores like Game, Makro, Cambridge and Builders, has been affected by congestion at local ports and the global shortage of shipping containers.

However, the retail chain owner says it will have products ready for its customers. 

"While we, consistent with wider industry experience, have experienced some disruption to selected imported products, we are confident that we will mostly have sufficient stock to meet demand during the upcoming Black Friday and festive season promotions," said Massmart spokesperson Brian Leroni.

Game stores will have month-long Black November special, where it will run four weekly deals, instead of all deals in one day.

Retailer Pick n Pay is also ready for its customers, saying it will offer customers bigger and better discounts on Black Friday.

"We plan months in advance to ensure we have the right stock – and enough of it – for our customers during one of the biggest shopping events of the year. This year is no different. We only import a small percentage of goods and most of our products are locally made," said Pick n Pay.  

South Africa’s largest online retailer Takealot declined to comment.

Chief economist of Old Mutual Investment Group, Johann Els, said this year’s Black Friday is likely to be stronger than last year’s, due to an easing of lockdown regulations, people wanting to get out, and pent-up demand.

"Household savings rates are still better than what they were before the Covid-19 crisis. What happened during the Covid-19 lockdown last year is that the collapse in spending was far bigger than the collapse in incomes, so the difference is that savings actually picked up," he added.

Therefore, Black Friday and Christmas spending is likely to be better this time around, he said.

With regards to supply chain issues, he said there is a big risk, but the imports required for Black Friday and Christmas shopping are probably in South Africa already.

Siphamandla Mkhwanazi, senior economist at FNB supply chain, said bottlenecks are likely to remain for some time.

"This [bottlenecks] has caused delays in goods delivery lead times, especially electronics and appliances, which may adversely impact stock availability around Black Friday and during the festive season and therefore sales volumes," he said.

However, Mkhwanazi said he didn’t expect a sharp increase in retail prices because domestic demand is relatively low.

"However, global supply distributions, together with higher oil prices, pose an upside risk to inflation outlook. On balance, we do expect inflation to trend higher towards the festive season but unlikely to breach the upper target band," he said.

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