It is not just South African retailers that are under pressure. Americans are spending less and less on clothing, according to a Bloomberg media report.
“Who needs fashion these days when you can express yourself through social media? Why buy that pricey new dress when you could fund a weekend getaway instead?”
The article says: “Apparel has simply lost its appeal. And there doesn’t seem to be a saviour in sight. As a result, more and more apparel companies are folding.”
In Australia, store closure are also becoming commonplace, with about 1.3% of consumer goods retailers in the country expected to close. An industry analyst at IBISWorld, Kim Do, says there are various reasons for the decline, including more cautious consumer spending, competition from foreign online-shopping websites, and increasing rents.
In March, apparel and accessories brand Sambag said it would shut down its stores after 22 years of trading, due to rental rises, competition and fast-changing shopping habits.
Although traditional brick-and-mortar shopping remains the backbone of South Africa’s retail industry, Broll chief executive Malcolm Horne says new ways of buying are becoming standard in retail markets around the world.
This includes not only e-commerce, but also a-commerce (augmented commerce), which relates to retail that uses augmented reality, enabling consumers to visualise products virtually in a real-world environment before buying.
“In general, South African consumers have yet to become fully acquainted with these new retail practices, but local retailers need to keep up to speed if they don’t wish to be caught sleeping on the retail watch,” Horne says.