- Easter is upon us, and some retailers are expected to see greater financial gains over others.
- Those forecast to see a strong Easter trading season include clothing and textiles stores, general dealers, specialist food stores, beverage stores, and tobacco retailers.
- Although stores in the food, beverages, and tobacco sector are expected to experience volatility, as they did during the pandemic, stores that sell confectionaries, alcohol, deli and ready-made meals are expected to do well.
With the Easter period here, retailers, who have been facing hardship due to multiple economic challenges in the country, have an opportunity to maximise on sales, but strategies need to be put in place for businesses to see some gains.
According to the latest Easter Retail research study released on Tuesday by Capital Connect, a fintech business-funding company which issues loans to businesses within 24 hours, the Easter season is forecast to see a 6.9% year-on-year increase in retail sales.
Despite South Africa facing multiple economic hardships – rising fuel prices, effects of the recent Ukraine-Russia conflict, unemployment and more – some retailers will see greater gains during this period than others.
"A strong Easter trading season will give South African retailers some respite in a year they are facing a perfect economic storm, with high unemployment, weak economic growth and the return of inflation impacting consumer and business confidence," said CEO of Capital Connect Steven Heilbron.
With the excitement of Easter and festivities lasting for about 35 days, retailers that are strategic stand to gain more than those that lack innovation.
Those forecast to see a strong Ester trading season include clothing and textile stores, general dealers, specialist foods, beverages, and tobacco retailers.
According to findings from the research, data shows that retailers have experienced volatility from 2020 to date due to the pandemic.
This volatility is expected to continue within the food, beverage and tobacco sector, however, shops that previously sold cakes, delis, cooked and ready-made meals were the winners during the Easter period despite the storm, and this trend is expected to continue in 2022.
"It is crucial for this sector to creatively adapt to survive over the long term. If they focus their trade on confectionaries and delis, they will have an uptick in sales.
"But they must keep in mind that they have strong competition with the like of bigger retail chain stores who have a very enticing offering of these goods," said Marketing General Manager at Capital Connect Sumay Dippenaar.
Here's how various retailer industries will fare this year:
- General dealers generally benefit from Easter sales and this year is expected to be no different. With high unemployment and consumer income under pressure, much of that spend will come from consumers buying necessities in bulk during sales and promotions.
- Retailers of food, beverages, and tobacco in specialised stores have experienced volatile Easter trade since the pandemic started, and this is as a result of alcohol and beverage bans. This year, however, those retailers with strong confectionary and deli offerings are expected to do well.
- Retailers of textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods are expected to enjoy a seasonal boost due to workers buying clothes to take home for the Easter season, as well as end of season sales.
- Retailers in pharmaceutical and medical goods, as well as cosmetics and toiletries enjoyed a boost in April 2020 due to panic buying. However, they do not customarily see a spike in sales over Easter. Hardware, paint and glass retailers also tend not to gain at this time of the year.
According to Professor and Research Director at Unisa's Bureau of Market Research Carel van Aardt, retailers need to implement strategies in order to see some green shoots. These include putting customers first and providing what they really need and want. Retailers ought to enhance shopper experience for the customer.
"To increase margins and sales, retailers need to really understand what the customer wants and deliver it as quickly, cheaply and with the highest possible quality level. They also need to innovate and diversify.
"Smart advertising executions and in-store experiences such as 'shopper-tainment' are key to creating a wow factor that brings shoppers into your store," said Van Aardt, adding that this includes going the extra mile and providing freebies like Easter eggs to customers.