Tag: sales

At the end of 2017, BIC’s stationery category showed a much-need improvement – but the upward trend seems to have been short-lived.

For the three months ended 31 March 2018 (Q1), sales in the stationery segment of the business declined 8.3% to €151.8-million ($18.5-million).

Overall, BIC Stationery saw adjusted profit increase 60% to €9,6-million – largely due to ofsetting raw material costs and dealing with currency fluctuations.

Key take-aways from the figures are:

  • Sales in Europe were flat – the UK and France showed a decline, which was offset by growth in other European areas
  • Sales in North America increased in low single digits
  • Strong trade in Mexico ofset a weaker Brazil, giving Latin America low-single-digit improvement
  • EMEA (the Middle East and Africa) sales were boosted to double digits, thanks to a robust back-to-school season in South Africa
  • BIC’s Indian subsidiary, Cello Pens, reported flat domestic sales as it continues to streamline its portfolio and increase brand awareness

Facebook launches Marketplace in SA

Social network Facebook will roll out Marketplace in South Africa in the following weeks as it hopes to disrupt the local classifieds industry.

The feature within the Facebook app has launched in 47 countries, with more than 550-million people from around the world visiting the platform to buy and sell goods each month.

Marketplace makes use of the Facebook interface in an attempt to offer users an easier platform to use, and will likely go head-to-head with already existing platforms like Gumtree and OLX.

In an interview with Fin24, Facebook Platform’s head of product Karandeep Anand said the South African market was identified as a key region to roll out Marketplace.

“Marketplace was initially built to supplement the Facebook groups which focus on buying and selling items on the platform,” Anand says.

He added that within the next two weeks Facebook app users in the country will notice a new Marketplace icon, which will appear at the bottom of the app page in the centre.

The feature in the Facebook app was designed to ensure safe trading for users, according to Anand. The company has implemented safety precautions for traders, including privacy controls and reporting tools.

Marketplace also allows users to communicate with one another on a platform based off the Facebook Messenger app, which works with or without the independent communication app.

“Across the world we have seen Marketplace being used by people for various items. Popular items include accessories, clothing and apparel. We are very interest to see how South African Facebook users make use of the feature,” Anand said.

How to use Marketplace

  • To use Marketplace, tap on the Marketplace icon.
  • To find what you’re looking for, search at the top and filter your results by location, category or price.
  • To sell something, take a photo, describe your item, set your price and you are done.
  • Buyers and sellers can communicate with each other using Facebook Messenger.

Safety tips for using Marketplace

Items, products or services sold on Facebook must comply with Facebook community standards and commerce policies.

When buying an item, examine it carefully for quality, condition and authenticity before paying. For high-value items (watches, luxury bags), consider requesting a certificate of authenticity or proof of purchase.

If the seller offers to ship the item rather than exchanging it in person, you may not have the opportunity to verify the item before completing your purchase. You can use a service such as Standard Bank’s Shepherd to arrange safe payment and shipment. Shepherd keeps the money for a transaction in a trust account and releases it to the seller once the buyer verifies he or she has received the correct item in good condition.

Don’t invite buyers or sellers to your home. Meet in a public place like a coffee shop or the mall. Before going, tell a family member or a friend where you will be, bring your cellphone, and consider asking another adult to come with you.

Buyers and sellers may offer or accept cash or person-to-person payments. If you choose to pay electronically using EFT, avoid payment links and log in directly through the payment method’s website. If the value of the item you intend to buy or sell requires a significant amount of cash, you might consider using a person-to-person payment method, such as PayPal or FNB eWallet.

Don’t share your financial account information (example: payment login and password, bank account info) with buyers or sellers. Additionally, make sure your Facebook privacy settings are up to date. These settings help limit what other people can see (example: status updates, location, photos) on your profile page and what you share on Facebook.

If you’re having a problem with someone in Marketplace, you can report them.

By Kyle Venktess for Fin24 

One of H&M’s largest shareholders has lost its patience.

Skandia’s actively managed funds have spent the past months selling off most of its stake in Hennes & Mauritz after watching the fashion retailer struggle with weakening sales in its physical stores and intensifying online competition. The Swedish savings and insurance giant says there is a raft of issues H&M would need to address before it will consider investing again.

“There’s so much they need to do that I don’t think they’ll solve this quickly,” Erik Sjostrom, who oversees more than $3bn as a senior portfolio manager at Skandia, told Bloomberg.

H&M, whose biggest shareholder is the billionaire Persson family that started the company in 1947, sank more than 30% last year. This year, the stock is down about 7%.

The world’s second-largest fashion chain by sales (after Zara-owner Inditex) needs to start prioritising profitability over growth and present a credible plan for tackling online competition, Sjostrom says.

It also needs to cut its dividend, reduce the number of stores in mature markets and focus on getting its product mix and price levels right, as well as reducing or writing off excess inventory that gets in the way of new trends hitting its shelves, he says.

H&M has said it feels confident it can fix its “disappointing” sales history. Management is working on building its online presence, creating new brands, improving its shops and fixing inventory issues with better technology.

H&M’s problems partly stem from its slowness to adapt to a digital age in which consumers increasingly shop online. As recently as a year ago, its main target was to grow its physical store network by between 10%-15% annually. As it became clear more shoppers wanted to make their purchases online, H&M changed that goal to aim instead for annual sales growth of between 10%-15%, including online commerce. Its digital sales have increased, but H&M still faces stiff competition from multi-brand and free shipping platforms like Zalando and Asos.

Analysts also appear to be losing their patience. Of those who provide their H&M ratings data to Bloomberg, 51% are now advising clients to sell the shares. That’s the most negative overall analyst view since at least early 2003, according to Bloomberg data. The average 12-month analyst price target has dropped to the lowest since early 2009.

Skandia’s funds, including its index-tracking funds, have sold a total of 1.26-million H&M shares in the past year and now hold 2.8-million shares, or 0.2% of the share capital (Skandia’s pension arm holds about additional H&M shares.)

Sjostrom says Skandia’s actively managed funds now have “almost nothing left” in H&M. The fund manager says he is unlikely to start buying again until H&M shows it understands the new market in which it operates, including the need to make products available at external online marketplaces.

“Why go to H&M, where you can only buy H&M? If you go to Zalando, you can buy a whole bunch of brands,” he said. “You need to be on these platforms.”

While H&M is working to address that issue in part by extending a co-operating agreement with Alibaba Group’s Tmall in China, Sjostrom says that is not enough. Even if the company is growing online, it is “still losing too much in stores,” he says.

The rise of low-cost retailers such as Associated British Foods’ Primark and Fast Retailing’s Uniqlo poses another problem. H&M virtually invented the business of low-cost, fast-fashion retail in the early 1990s, but is these days neither the fastest nor the cheapest brand.

“The market is changing very quickly, and H&M needs to figure out a new way to keep up with these developments,” Sjostrom said. “If they show how they’re going to fix it in a few years, then it could become an investment opportunity again.”

By Anna Molin for Business Day / Bloomberg

Steinhoff raises R7.1bn from sale of PSG shares

Steinhoff International raised R7.1bn billion of shares in South African financial services firm PSG, the latest in a line of disposals aimed at shoring up the retailer’s battered balance sheet.

The owner of Mattress Firm in the U.S. and Poundland in the UK placed almost 29.5 million shares in Stellenbosch, South Africa-based PSG with institutional investors, Steinhoff said in a statement Monday. That’s on top of the 20.6 million PSG shares sold late last year at the start of an accounting scandal that’s wiped out most of its market value.

“This is positive for Steinhoff as it will secure a decent bit of liquidity out of a fairly well-priced asset,” Alec Abraham, an analyst at Johannesburg-based Sasfin Securities, said by phone. “By selling out of a non-core asset, the company is better able to support its core, furniture businesses.”

The shares rose 3.7% as of 4:41 p.m. in Frankfurt, where Steinhoff moved its primary listing from Johannesburg in December 2015. PSG rose 0.2% by the close in the South African city to R254 rand, about 5.5% higher than the R240 price Steinhoff received for its stock. The retailer holds a 2.5% after the placement.

Steinhoff has been identifying non-core assets to sell while holding talks with lenders about providing financial support. The company said December 5 it had uncovered accounting irregularities and later announced it would have to restate accounts going back to 2015. Chief executive officer Markus Jooste and chairman and biggest shareholder Christo Wiese have both resigned.

The company earlier this year sold a luxury Gulfstream 550 private jet that had once been valued at $25m, while French unit Conforama has disposed of a 17% stake in online retailer Showroomprive for €79 million euros. That’s about half what it paid for the shares in May last year.

The PSG placing was carried out by PSG itself and the South African unit of Standard Bank.

Separately, Amsterdam Court’s Enterprise Chamber delayed a verdict on a case brought against Steinhoff by a former joint-venture partner until no later than February 19. It had been due to make a decision on the case Monday.

By Janice Kew and John Bowker for Bloomberg / Fin24

An international survey performed the week preceding Black Friday 2017 examined consumer preferences in anticipation of the end-of-year shopping events.

The survey, conducted among 3,400 participants from 8 developed countries, has revealed that Black Friday enjoys a double-digit popularity percentage in 6 countries outside the United States, while Cyber Monday tops out at only 4% outside of North America.

A survey conducted in November 2017 by One Hour Translation presents a global perspective on the preferences of online consumers concerning the end-of-year shopping events.

The survey reveals that the event most consumers look forward to is Black Friday, which enjoys a double-digit popularity percentage in 6 countries outside the United States. Cyber Monday tops out at only 4% in the examined countries outside of North America.

The online survey was conducted with Google Consumer Surveys among 3,400 participants from the following 8 developed countries: The United States, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Australia and Japan.

One Hour Translation asked the participants: “Which online shopping event have you been waiting for this year?” and allowed the respondents to pick more than one answer. The survey analyzed the answers of 1 000 participants from the US, 600 from the UK and 300 in each of the remaining participating countries.

In the United States, 14.5% of respondents said they were waiting for Black Friday, which took place on November 24 this year, while 16% were waiting for Cyber Monday (November 27). Black Friday is particularly popular in Canada (about 26%), Spain (about 22%), France (about 21%), the UK and Germany (about 19% each) and to a lesser extent in Australia and Japan (about 10% in each country). On average among the 8 countries sampled in the survey, 17% of respondents were looking forward to Black Friday, compared to about 8% who were looking forward to Cyber Monday and about 3% who were looking forward to the Singles Day event (the Chinese holiday celebrating single people) – making Black Friday a significant shopping event outside the US.

Cyber Monday, on the other hand, enjoyed a double-digit popularity percentage only in the North American countries. 16% of respondents in the United States said they were waiting for Cyber Monday, and 10% of respondents in Canada, figures that were much higher compared to the ones observed in the UK (about 4%), Australia, Germany, Spain, France and Japan (about 3%).

The Chinese “Singles Day” shopping event, which takes place every year on November 11, was highly anticipated among 7.5% of respondents in Japan, as opposed to approximately 6% in Spain and France, 4% in Canada, 3% in Germany, 2% in Britain and Australia, and only 1.4% in the United States.

Despite the fact that the survey was conducted online and was naturally geared towards online consumers, about two thirds of respondents (68%) on average among the eight countries said that they were not looking forward to any online shopping events. About 4% of the 3,400 respondents said they were looking forward to shopping events other than those examined in the survey. The level of variability among the countries when it came to these two figures was low.

“We already knew that Black Friday has become the top brand among the end-of-year shopping events around the world, thanks to the survey we conducted last year. This year, Black Friday is once again the most popular shopping event among consumers.

“However, looking at the figures, we can see a major difference in the levels of anticipation for the Cyber Monday shopping event, which is popular in North America – the United States and Canada – as opposed to the anticipation it enjoys in the major economies outside of North America,” says Ofer Shoshan, co-founder and CEO of One Hour Translation.

“Based on our extensive work with thousands of e-commerce companies, we would encourage companies outside of North America in this particular field to invest in associating their activity and their brand with the Cyber Monday event.”

Don’t get ripped off this Black Friday

Black Friday 2017 will take place on 24 November, and local shoppers have already started allocating budget for the day.

The week of Black Friday typically sees retailers offering deals on a wide range of products from the Monday, with the real discounts usually put up from Black Friday to Cyber Monday.

If you plan to buy products or services on Black Friday, you are likely to save a big chunk of what you would have spent at “normal” retail prices.

However, just because a retailer slaps a “Black Friday 2017” sticker on its items, don’t assume you are getting a good price.

The steps below will help you take advantage of Black Friday and ensure you don’t get the wool pulled over your eyes.

Make a list

Your first step is to make a list of everything you want to buy on Black Friday.

This will let you find what you are looking for quicker and stop you from buying unnecessary items.

Rank you list in order of “most important” to “least important” so you don’t run out of money before you have all your “essentials”.

Find prices

Once you have your list, find out how much “normal” pricing for the items are.

Take each item and look at how much it costs from a variety of retailers. Once you have found the lowest price, note the price next to the item on your list.

This will ensure you get a decent discount on the normal price on Black Friday.

Online stores

If you plan to buy an item online, visit the online stores you may shop from on Black Friday and familiarise yourself with their interfaces.

If you have ordered from the online store before, make sure your profile is up to date and active.

Many online stores may have limited stock or time-based deals, and you do not want to miss out on them because you do not know how to buy and check out, or you have to re-register your profile.

Shop around

While stocks are often limited and time sensitive on Black Friday, try to shop around before buying.

The last thing you want is to buy Item A from Shop X, only to see said item at Shop Y for 20% less.

Pick a few stores you expect to have good deals and quickly scan them to see if your listed items are available.

Check delivery times

Black Friday is a good time to order Christmas, birthday, or holiday gifts – but you will want to check when they get delivered.

Due to high demand and potential supply issues with retailers to fulfil all orders, you may have to wait several weeks for your Black Friday orders to be delivered.

Check online retailers’ information pages or terms and conditions when ordering to ensure the expected delivery time is acceptable for you.

Wake up early

Certain online retailers and physical stores will launch their deals at times like 00:01 on 24 November, so make sure you are awake if needs be.

Getting up early to order will also ensure that you miss peak buying traffic, which may cause deals to sell out, online stores to lag or crash, and online payments systems to fall over due to high volumes.

Visit your favourite sites this week and see if their Black Friday 2017 sales times are posted.

Source: My Broadband

Why black friday is a fake

Since it was gleefully adopted by the UK seven years ago, the name Black Friday has been synonymous with amazing, money-saving deals.

It is the day when, for a glorious 24 hours of plummeting prices and discounts, the consumer appears to come out on top — and, this year, it’s at the end of this week.

Originally an American concept, Black Friday falls the day after their Thanksgiving holiday and marks the start of the Christmas shopping season.

The Samsung 55-inch Smart 4k Ultra HD HDR curved TV KU6670 was advertised as ¿Save £400, now £849¿ (was £1,249 from May 11, 2016 to June 22) but it was £50 cheaper at least 29 times in December, January and April, the same price at least seven times in April and £79 cheaper at least 18 times in May +9
The Samsung 55-inch Smart 4k Ultra HD HDR curved TV KU6670 was advertised as ‘Save £400, now £849’ (was £1,249 from May 11, 2016 to June 22) but it was £50 cheaper at least 29 times in December, January and April, the same price at least seven times in April and £79 cheaper at least 18 times in May

In Britain, it’s simply seen as a good excuse to go bargain hunting — and deals are starting earlier than ever this year.

With many shops already advertising their Black Friday offers, we’re expected to splash out £10 billion before this week is out.

But in this frenzy of spending are you really getting a good deal? In many cases, it would appear not.
The Nutri Ninja BL450 blender with pulse technology (silver) was advertised at £44.99 but was £5 cheaper at least 22 times in April and May.

The Fitbit Blaze was advertised as ¿Save £20, was £159.99, now £139.99¿ (£159.99 from March 1 to Nov 15). But it was £10 cheaper at least nine times in January, £7 cheaper for the rest of the Black Friday sale period (other than Black Friday itself), and the same price 124 times between October and May +9
The Fitbit Blaze was advertised as ‘Save £20, was £159.99, now £139.99’ (£159.99 from March 1 to Nov 15). But it was £10 cheaper at least nine times in January, £7 cheaper for the rest of the Black Friday sale period (other than Black Friday itself), and the same price 124 times between October and May

A year-long investigation by consumer experts Which? has found that an astonishing six out of ten of last year’s ‘deals’ were for products that were, in fact, cheaper or the same price at other times of the year.

The research tracked the prices of 35 of the most popular technology, home and personal care products on sale on Black Friday 2016, but the results throw the entire validity of the Black Friday ‘deal’ into question.

Richard Headland, editor-in-chief of Which? Magazine, says: ‘From a consumer point of view, it’s obviously very frustrating.

Beats Solo 2 wireless black headphones (also in yellow) were advertised at £169. But they were cheaper by £19 for at least two days in February and the same price for at least two days in December.

The one day on which you assume you’re getting the best deal ever is that last Friday in November.

‘We think it’s misleading on the part of the retailers, who are happy to hype up the size of Black Friday discounts.

‘Retailers disagree, though. They argue that just because a product is included in a Black Friday sale, it doesn’t stop them discounting it at other times of year, too. That’s true, but it’s also a tacit acceptance that there may be better times to shop for a bargain.’

Who are the culprits?

Some of the worst offenders were some of our top retailers and the deals make sorry reading.

There was the Neff Slide and Hide oven from Currys/PC World. It sounded like a good deal at £494.99, particularly as the retailer’s adverts claimed it had been priced at £599.99 throughout September and most of October.

But the oven was actually cheaper than the Black Friday price for at least 113 other days of the year. It cost £449.99 — £45 cheaper — just three weeks later.

The Neff Slide and Hide oven was cheaper than on Black Friday for at least 113 days of the year. It was advertised on Black Friday at ¿£494.99 ¿ 10 pc off the marked price of £549.99¿ (was £599.99 September 1 to October 18). The lowest price in the year was £419, at least 33 times in April and May. It was £449.99 at least 49 times from mid-Dec to February +9
The Neff Slide and Hide oven was cheaper than on Black Friday for at least 113 days of the year. It was advertised on Black Friday at ‘£494.99 — 10 pc off the marked price of £549.99’ (was £599.99 September 1 to October 18). The lowest price in the year was £419, at least 33 times in April and May. It was £449.99 at least 49 times from mid-Dec to February

A Samsung 55-inch Smart 4K Ultra HD curved TV was advertised in Currys/PC World as ‘Save £400, now £849’, but was £50 cheaper at least 29 times in December, January and April, the same price at least seven times in April, and £79 cheaper at least 18 times in May.

There were similar anomalies with the Fitbit Blaze, a Samsung Ecobubble 8kg washing machine, and an HP Envy 4524 all-in-one wireless inkjet printer.

The DeLonghi bean-to-cup coffee machine looked like a bargain last Black Friday at £349 in Currys/PC World — a huge saving on the £729.99 that the retailer’s advertising stated it had been for most of September and October.
The Samsung 49-inch Smart 4k Ultra HD HDR curved TV KU6670 was advertised as ‘Save £250, now £699’ (it was £949 from May 11 to June 22). But it was also £699 at least 18 times before Black Friday in August and September. It was also £50 cheaper at least 29 times afterwards in December, January and April.
However, Which? data showed that it was priced at £579.99 for nearly three weeks when the ad claimed it was selling at £729.99. Plus, it remained at the Black Friday price for almost all of December.

They also slipped up with a Braun 3040s Series 3 electric shaver and Sony MDR-ZX770AP on-ear headphones, among other items. An Oral B electric toothbrush from Amazon was advertised as ‘save 26 per cent — was £40.49, now £29.99’.

It sounded like a good offer, until you realise it was £5 cheaper on at least two days in July.

You may feel that this casts a bit of a cloud over the whole Black Friday experience. The build-up has already been diluted by the fact that so many shops have been discounting goods all month.

The Braun 3040s Series 3 electric shaver was advertised at £39.99 but was the same price at least nine times in June and July, and between £4 and £5 cheaper at least five times in December +9
The Braun 3040s Series 3 electric shaver was advertised at £39.99 but was the same price at least nine times in June and July, and between £4 and £5 cheaper at least five times in December

There are also suggestions that UK discounts aren’t as high as those in other countries.

While online prices here were cut by an average of 12 per cent last year, according to UK retail strategy expert Jamie Merrick, of Salesforce Commerce Cloud, they were down a whopping 29 per cent in the U.S., and 20 and 23 per cent in Germany and France respectively.

However, it seems that 31 per cent of households are planning on getting involved, and there are predictions that £1.74 million will be spent online every minute of the day itself, £3 billion will be spent over the four days from Friday to Monday and more than £10 billion during the week.

Commerce consultancy Salmon expects there will be £20 billion-worth of online sales in November, overtaking December sales — which, for retailers at least, is good news.

Currys/PC World — Eight deals were cheaper or the same price after Black Friday:

The Samsung 55-inch Smart 4k Ultra HD HDR curved TV KU6670 was advertised as ‘Save £400’ now £849 (was £1,249 from May 11, 2016 to June 22) but was £50 cheaper at least 29 times in December, January and April, the same price at least seven times in April and £79 cheaper at least 18 times in May.
The DeLonghi Magnifica bean-to-cup coffee machine was advertised at £349, ‘Save £380’ (was £729.99 from Sept 6 to Oct 10, 2016) but was the same price at least 28 times in December. Indeed, Which? price research shows it was actually £579.99 from Sept 6 to Sept 24.
The Samsung wireless soundbar and subwoofer HW-K430 was advertised as ‘Save £150, now £129.99’ (was £279.99 from Sept 28-Oct 31). It was then the same price at least 18 times in Dec and Jan.
The Fitbit Flex activity and sleep wristband (in black, slate or pink) was advertised at £39.99 ‘Save £40’ (was £79.99 from Oct 20 to Nov 12). But it was £2 cheaper at least six times at the beginning of Dec.
Beats Solo 2 wireless black headphones (also in yellow) were advertised at £169. But they were cheaper by £19 for at least two days in Feb and the same price for at least two days at the beginning of Dec.
The HP Envy 4524 all-in-one wireless inkjet printer was advertised at £35. But it was the same price at least three times after Black Friday in late December 2016 and early January 2017.
The Samsung Ecobubble 8kg washing machine WF80F5E2W4X was advertised at £349 but was the same price at least twice at the end of December.
Three deals were cheaper or the same price before and after Black Friday:

The Neff Slide and Hide oven was cheaper than the Black Friday price for at least 113 days of the year. It was advertised on Black Friday at £494.99 — 10 pc off the marked price of £549.99 (was £599.99 from Sep 1 to Oct 18. The lowest price over the year was £419, which it was at least 33 times in April and May. It was £449.99 at least 49 times from mid-Dec to Feb.
The Samsung 49-inch Smart 4k Ultra HD HDR curved TV KU6670 was advertised as ‘Save £250’ now £699 (it was £949 from May 11 to June 22). But it was also £699 at least 18 times before Black Friday in August and September. It was also £50 cheaper at least 29 times afterwards in December, January and April.
The Fitbit Blaze was advertised as ‘Save £20’ was £159.99, now £139.99 (it was £159.99 from March 1 to Nov 15). But it was £10 cheaper at least nine times in January, £7 cheaper for the rest of the Black Friday sale period (other than Black Friday itself), and the same price 124 times between October and May.
Argos — these deals were cheaper or the same price after Black Friday:

Beats by Dre PowerBeats2 wireless sports headphones (black) were advertised at £99.99 with the line ‘Save £30 — our lowest price ever’. But if you waited just three weeks, until Dec 17, they were £10 cheaper, as well as on at least 13 other days at the end of December.
The Dyson V6 Fluffy cordless vacuum cleaner was advertised at £229.99 but was the same price at least four days at the end of December.
The Philips Viva Air Fryer with rapid air technology was advertised at £69.99 but was the same price at least 20 times afterwards in December and January.
The Gtech AR02 AirRam filter bagless upright vacuum cleaner was advertised at £149.99 but was the same price on at least one occasion in early January.
The Nutri Ninja BL450 blender with pulse technology (silver) was advertised at £44.99 but was £5 cheaper at least 22 times in April and May.

Three deals were cheaper or the same price before and after Black Friday:

The LG UHD TV 4k LG49UH650V 49-inch UHD4k Web OS Smart LED TV was advertised as ‘£499 — Our lowest price’ but it was £20 cheaper at least seven times at the end of Dec, £4 cheaper at least 11 times in early Dec, and the same price at least 17 times between Nov and Jan.
The Braun 3040s Series 3 electric shaver was advertised at £39.99 but was the same price at least nine times in June and July, and between £4 and £5 cheaper at least five times in December.
Sony MDR-ZX770AP on-ear headphones (black) were advertised as £34.99 but were the same price for at least six days in early November 2016 and at least 16 times in December.
How to spot a true bargain

How do you avoid getting it wrong? Richard Headland, editor-in-chief of Which? Magazine, has some tips:

Do your research

Be focused. Identify which products you want to look for and get a feel for prices. You can use Which? to look up product reviews and find out current and historical prices at a range of popular retailers, or websites such as CamelCamelCamel for Amazon price history. Compare what looks like a good Black Friday deal with other retailers. Don’t be swayed by a claimed ‘saving’.

Watch the hype

We’re easily taken in by bright signs proclaiming ‘Was £100, now £50’, but these may not be true. By law, a product has to have been on offer at the higher price for 28 days before a discount is offered, but this isn’t always the case. As long as there is a note explaining the offer, shops get away with it.

Keep your cool

You are the target of aggressive marketing — so stay cool and calm. More than ever, it’s clear that it’s not just a day of discounts, so if you’re not convinced, then hold back.

Beware the RRP

Be suspicious of RRP prices (recommended retail price). Officially, the manufacturer isn’t allowed to set the price of a product. In reality, there is collaboration, so that a manufacturer will sell at a discount at the same time as an independent retailer. Apple is a good example of this. Having said that, you can still have a look at the RRP on the manufacturer’s website, to see whether a retailer is being honest.

Price promises

Try to buy from retailers with a price promise — those who’ll refund the difference if you find a better deal on the same product elsewhere, or if the price drops later.

Count in delivery

Look at delivery costs in advance. In a Which? survey, four in ten people said paying for postage and packing was an irritating part of online shopping. Some retailers offer a buy online and pick up later service, which means you don’t have to go near the shops on the day itself.

Product reviews

Check out reviews. In some cases, a discount on a product will be there for a good reason and shops might struggle to give them away.

By Alice Smellie for The Daily Mail

Online retailer Takealot says that its 2017 Black Friday sale will be the biggest its ever had, with almost every product category on the site expected to host sales.

According to CEO, Kim Reid, over 15,000 products will be discounted starting on 24 November, with the majority seeing up 60% off the normal price tag, and some prices going as low as 70% and 80% off.

The retailer has dubbed its Black Friday weekend sale as the Blue Dot Sale, which will run for five days: from Black Friday on 24 November, through the weekend to Cyber Monday on 27 November. The retailer said it will then follow up with Takealot Tuesday on the 28th.

Noting a big rise in the number of mobile users, Reid said that Takealot would start with Black Friday deals earlier – from 20 November – with app-only exclusive deals.

Despite the struggling economy, and the tough year seen in 2017, Reid said that the company has not seen much of a slowdown during the year, and is only expecting volumes to increase over Black Friday and into the festive period.

The group said it expects volumes to increase by 50% compared to 2016, where sales reached R56 million. Black Friday has seen enormous growth in popularity in SA – 2016’s sales were up from R17 million in 2015, and way up from R1 million in sales in 2011 when it held its first Black Friday sale, it said.

According to Reid, technology products, fragrances and toys traditionally perform well on Black Friday, but the retailer is anticipating a spike across all categories.

“While the big ticket items like games consoles and TVs are popular as pre-Christmas buys, our highest volume sales on Black Friday are often driven by everyday consumables, like nappies, dog food and coffee,” he said.

Website downtime

In 2016, Takealot experienced some technical issues with the site being overloaded by eager shoppers, and transactions failing due to payment gateways (especially 3D Secure) buckling under the unprecedented transaction volumes.

South Africa’s banks have already said that they have been upgrading infrastructure, and have technical teams on standby to handle the expected spike. Takealot, meanwhile, says it is preparing for five times the traffic seen on a typical payday.

“Our checkout process ran into problems on last year’s Black Friday because the banks’ payment gateway fell over from the surge of online shoppers across the country. The combination of all the retailers running Black Friday sales meant that they simply couldn’t handle the volume of transactions,” Reid said.

For 2017, he said that the company is continuously making changes to its systems and processes to ensure it doesn’t leave customers disappointed.

“We’ve bolstered resources across the business – from our engineers and developers to customer service shopping assistants, warehouse staff to Takealot Delivery Team drivers, to manage the increase in volume,” he said.

Source: Business Tech

Many of South Africa’s largest physical retailers have committed to Black Friday, which will hit South Africa on 24 November 2017.

Due to its huge success for US retailers, Black Friday has been adopted in South Africa over the past several years, with more companies taking part each year.

While initially a big sale focused mainly on online retail in South Africa, the craze seeped into brick and mortar stores in 2016 including the biggest retailers like Makro, Pick n Pay, and Checkers.

The shopping phenomenon will take place on November 24, 2017, followed by Cyber Monday on November 27, 2017, where a host of leading online retailers drop their prices.

South African retailers are already advertising major discounts in preparation for the big day on the shopping calendar, with many expected to follow suit in the coming weeks.

Shopping malls across the country are also preparing for the day, with the likes of Menlyn Mall in Pretoria, and Irene Village putting out notices and billboards advertising the Black Friday craze that will be descending on the day.

Other malls that are readying for Black Friday 2017 include Canal Walk (Cape Town); Mall@Reds (Centurion); The Glen (Joburg South); Clearwater Mall (West Rand); La Lucia Mall (Durban).

These are 10 of the country’s largest retailers who have committed to Black Friday 2017 – from groceries, to toys, homeware and building supplies, the promise of great deals awaits those who venture out of their homes and into the shops.

While the deals themselves are under wraps, these retailers have confirmed their participation.

  • Checkers
  • Mr Price
  • MR Price online
  • Clicks
  • CNA
  • Edgars
  • Makro
  • Pick ‘n Pay
  • Dischem
  • Builder’s
  • Boardmans
  • Toys R Us
  • HiFi Corp

Source: Business Tech

Edcon’s profits up despite sales decline

Unlisted retail group Edcon reported on Tuesday that its net profit improved by 3.8% to R2bn, although sales declined in the September quarter from the matching period in 2016.

Edcon said its overall retail sales suffered from “fierce price competition through ongoing promotions by competitors” and its decision to close unprofitable stores.

In its flagship Edgars clothing chain, sales declined 0.9% to R2.46bn during the three months to September 23. Sister clothing chain Jet’s retail sales declined 1% to R2.28bn.

Edcon’s “speciality” division, which houses news agency CNA and Edgars Shoe Gallery, reported a 41.5% decrease in sales to R463m because the comparative period included Legit, which was sold in January. Excluding Legit, the speciality division suffered an 11.4% decline in sales. CNA’s sales fell 12.1%.

“Our trading environment remains challenging as consumer demand is weak on the back of tight credit conditions, low growth in consumer disposable income, political uncertainty and restrictive fiscal policy,” Edcon CEO Bernie Brookes said.

“Despite this, it is pleasing that the group’s strategic transformation is delivering positive retail sales growth in certain merchandise categories, such as ladieswear in both Edgars and Jet, as well as cellular in Jet, while childrenswear, footwear, cosmetics and cellular within Edgars are also starting to show signs of change.”

By Robert Laing for Business Live

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My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


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