Stores expect sober spending

Mall managers predict consumers will spend more on essentials than luxury goods this season, following the frenzy of Black Friday last week. Above, Thandeka Sihlali and her daughter Imitha Sihlali enjoy the Christmas decorations at Vincent Park mall yesterday Picture: SIBONGILE NGALWA
Mall managers predict consumers will spend more on essentials than luxury goods this season, following the frenzy of Black Friday last week. Above, Thandeka Sihlali and her daughter Imitha Sihlali enjoy the Christmas decorations at Vincent Park mall yesterday Picture: SIBONGILE NGALWA
Black Friday sales triggered holiday shopping frenzies last week, but mall managers predict prudent shoppers will spend more on essentials than luxury items this festive season.

Vincent Park manager Joseph Parsley said despite the “pandemonium” on Black Friday he was concerned that consumer confidence had dipped as unemployment rose.

“This year many shops jumped onto the Black Friday bandwagon but whether consumers continue to spend remains to be seen. We should be able to tell after December 16 when many companies close and bonuses – if there are any – are paid.”

Parsley anticipated that while shoppers would still fork out for Christmas presents, they would spend less per gift and be on the lookout for value for money.

Hemingways Mall general manager Reinette van Tonder said the mall had been busier since Black Friday.

“In this tough economic climate, many people who would have travelled overseas are now opting to stay local and travel to the coast for their holiday.

“Everyone is looking for value for their hard-earned money and spending on a mix of luxuries and necessities.”

At Mdantsane City, general manager Dean Deary said shoppers had been “flooding in” since the beginning of the week following the payment of social grants and pension payments at the mall’s on-site South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) office.

He said trading had been brisk, especially for groceries, but luxuries like branded clothing were also doing well.

“We’re definitely expecting increased trade as family members who work around the country return home to their families for the holidays,” said Deary.

BT Ngebs City in Mthatha general manager Lolo Sabisa predicted shoppers would be cautious, particularly since the spending spree that had already taken place at the Black Friday sales and because of an unfavourable economy.

He said customers always spent most on food, followed by clothing and luxury items. Parents would also spend a portion of their bonuses on school uniforms for the new year.

Beacon Bay Retail Park manager Urshula Pape said Black Friday bargains, as well as specials linked to the opening of a new appliance store last week, had kicked off a holiday spending buzz.

“We are not expecting a huge upsurge of luxury gift shopping, but rather large food and homewear spends.

“On December 15 and 16, when out-of-towners arrive to stay on the East Coast resorts, there will be a demand for casual attire and restaurants.”

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