Retailer confidence crashes to 15-year low

Posted on June 22nd, 2016

Today's top entrepreneurship and business stories (22 June)
Results from the latest EY/Bureau for Economic Research (BER) Retail Survey point to a sharp deterioration in the business confidence levels of retailers during 2016Q2.

The percentage of retailers that reported that they were satisfied with prevailing business conditions dropped from 44% in 2016Q1 to a 15-year low of 26% in 2016Q2.

Derek Engelbrecht, Consumer Products & Retail sector leader at EY, said that “An involuntary build-up of stock levels during the previous quarter and sustained weak volume growth in 2016Q2 prevented many retailers from hiking their selling prices in line with their earlier expectations. The subsequent erosion of profit margins – coupled with the sombre outlook for the domestic economy and retailers’ expectations that sales growth will wane further in 2016Q3  – in all likelihood weighed heavily on retailer confidence.”

Retail sales data from Statistics South Africa show that the growth in retail sales volumes held up remarkably well during 2015 amid a confluence of adverse economic developments, including low business confidence levels, weakening employment growth, rising interest rates, tighter credit conditions and an increase in the household tax burden.

According to Statistics South Africa, the growth in retail sales volumes improved from 2.8% year-on-year (y-o-y) in 2015Q1 to a sturdy 3.8% y-o-y by 2015Q4. With average annual volume growth of more than 4% in 2015, hardware retailers – who benefitted from an increase in home renovations and load-shedding related sales – and clothing, textiles and footwear retailers fared particularly well last year. However, the growth in total retail sales volumes eased from 3.8% y-o-y in 2015Q4 to 3.5% in 2016Q1, with only 1.5% y-o-y recorded in April 2016.

5th Annual Success Summit To Take Entrepreneurs to Greater Heights
The annual Success Summit, which has for five years been inspiring entrepreneurs and providing them opportunities to network and grow their businesses, is set to take place once again this month. The summit is hosted by Dr Nondumiso Mzizana, whose entrepreneurial savvy saw her named the 2011 Business Woman of the Year by the Business Woman’s Association of South Africa.

The summit takes place at a time when the need to develop entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs especially, has become urgent and pressing. Small and medium-sized enterprises have the potential to boost South Africa’s anaemic economic growth, and to provide much-needed jobs and opportunities for self-development to the millions of unemployed young people. However, according to the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, while 73 percent of South African working-age adults believe entrepreneurship is a good career choice, only about 45 percent believe they have the skills to succeed as entrepreneurs and only 9.2 percent go on to start businesses.

“The focus of the Success Summit is to equip new and current entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge that will allow them to be more confident and competent business people. Young entrepreneurs especially need help developing their marketing, sales, accounting, business planning skills, as well as knowledge on how to access government business. The Success Summit provides opportunities for all of these,” says Dr Mzizana.

This year’s summit will be held on Friday, 24 June, at the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice in Menlyn, Pretoria. Tickets to attend are now available at for R1,000 per delegate, with a 30 percent discount on offer for members of Success Summit, who enjoy the support, mentorship and other benefits of the programme all year round.

Youth employment trends in East Africa
East African youth are seeking a greater voice in their future, according to new youth-led research released this week by The MasterCard Foundation Youth Think Tank, reports Bizcommunity.

The Youth Think Tank revealed findings from their peer-to-peer research report, providing key insights into youth employment and entrepreneurship trends in East Africa.

“The Youth Think Tank demonstrates the dedication and energy of young people to seek positive change within their communities,” said Ann Miles, director, financial inclusion and youth livelihoods at The MasterCard Foundation.

“Their research is an important piece of work that will help to inform not only the Foundation’s strategy for expanding youth economic opportunities, but also governments and policymakers in the youth development space.”

Key findings from the report indicate that:

  • Young people are committed to improving their skill set. Youth recognise the gap between the types of skills they gain within formal education systems and the types of skills employers seek. They are taking proactive steps such as engaging in volunteer work and using information and communication technology (ICT) to acquire the skills they need for employment.
  • Young people in rural areas are carefully considering employment opportunities in agriculture, rather than migrating to urban centres. However, they face many challenges to achieving their objectives as entrepreneurs, including limited access to financial services and limited business management skills.
  • Young people recognise the efforts of East African government initiatives to advance youth employment and entrepreneurship but report that there are many missing components, such as individual rather than group loans and business skills training.
  • Youth continue to face a number of barriers that impede their ability to earn a sustainable means of living, including gender inequality, limited access to land and limited access to information and technology. (Bizcommunity)