The Retail of Furniture, Appliances and White Goods report describes the current environment, the effect of changes to the National Credit Act which constrained consumers’ access to credit and other factors that influence the success of the sector. The report profiles 18 role players, including the JD Group, which has 745 furniture outlets and 112 consumer electronics and appliances outlets. Also profiled is another leader in the sector, Lewis Group Ltd which acquired 57 Ellerines and Beares stores for approximately R250m in early 2016, bringing its presence outside the country to 120 stores located in Nambia, Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland.
Retail of Furniture, Appliances and White Goods
The furniture and appliance industry is one of the country’s smallest retail sectors, contributing just 5.4% to total retail sales in 2016, equating to R41.3bn. The three main furniture and appliance retailers, JD Group, Shoprite and Lewis, have a combined footprint of more than 2,200 stores in the country and the four main retailers together hold an estimated 56% of the domestic market.
Difficult Economic Conditions
Retailers experienced the weakest growth in seven years during 2016, with trade for household furniture, appliances and equipment showing negative growth. The general political climate, coupled with low credit growth, low investment levels, and prolonged drought all impacted on consumer spending as the cost of living escalated. Analysts expect that the recent downgrading of South Africa’s economic prospects by ratings agencies Fitch, Standard & Poor and Moody’s will negatively impact growth in the retail sector in the period ahead.
Growth in Online Retailing
Internet-based retail reached 1% of total South African retail sales in 2016 and showed 20% growth, reaching a value of R9bn. This increase has been attributed to the high mobile penetration rate, increasing technological knowledge and the fact that more secure payment options are available. Most retailers have a website with online ordering capabilities and although there are retailers who only retail online, this is still a niche market.