Retailer Mr Price has warned that SA households are becoming increasingly cautious with their spending as Covid-19 numbers rise and the effect of government support programmes wane, but its cash-based business model has helped with a record market share.
In a trading update the group reported total retail sales grew 5.8% to R7.5bn in the 13 weeks to December 26, adding that its market share grew 2.3 percentage points in October and November combined, the latest period for which Retailers Liaison Committee (RLC) data is available.
Mr Price said its total market share during this period is the highest on record since the reinstatement of the RLC data, with gains consecutively for the past six months.
Cash remains the preferred tender type of customers, with Mr Price saying its private-label product assortment and pricing strategy supported cash sales growth of 8.2%, even as credit sales declined.
Economic assistance provided by the government and private sector from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic created temporary financial relief for households and supported consumer spend, the group said.
Many of these support programmes fell away at the end of October 2020, however, with the effect being felt in the latter half of November.
December also saw the emergence of a second wave of Covi-19, creating further uncertainty and cautious behaviour by consumers, both in their activities and spending patterns, the group said.
Additionally, a calendar shift to less school holidays before Christmas and 10 days of power blackouts had an adverse effect on already depressed shopping centre foot traffic.