The South African apparel retailers market increased by 8% in current value terms in 2012, to reach R89.4 billion.
Consumer confidence improved during the first quarter of 2012, and this pushed up value sales for most apparel specialist retailers, despite a general increase in the cost of living.
Retailers generally reviewed their evaluation policies for credit customers during the review period. This helped them reduce the number of defaulting customers, and in turn posted respectable value growth.
The number of apparel retailer outlets increased by 4% in 2012, to reach 19,658 nationwide. This was significant growth when compared with the previous year, when 3% growth was recorded.
The continued construction of shopping malls greatly influenced growth in outlet numbers. Other retailers also closed down underperforming outlets and replaced them with more outlets in better locations.
The majority of branded stores in South Africa sell both clothing and footwear for children as well as adults. However, Luella stocks no clothing, and focuses on adult footwear and accessories such as handbags and belts. Temptations, Donna-Claire and Milady's all cater for adult females only, offering no children's clothing. Children's clothing is mainly found in Ackermans stores, where such items are relatively low- priced, as well as offering clothing for adults.
In terms of the competition, the retailers within this channel are divided in terms of their target clientele. Stores such as Truworths, Foschini, Markham and Woolworths target the high-income groups in society, and they tend to be high-priced compared with stores such as Pep Stores, Ackermans and Mr Price, which target the low-income groups in all age ranges.
As a result of the above trends, Pep Stores led overall apparel specialist retailers in 2012, as it appeals to low-income consumers, which account for the majority of the South African population, and it has become a household name which requires minimum marketing to attract customers.
Leading supermarket Pick 'n' Pay is increasing its clothing offering, and whilst it previously designated a small area of its supermarkets to clothing, it is increasingly focusing on opening separate clothing stores. These outlets are proving a threat to apparel retailers such as Ackermans, as they sell good-quality clothing at more affordable prices.
For more information on the South African apparel retailers market, see the latest research: South African Apparel Retailers Market
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