EDITORIAL | Lockdown kept SA shopping habits in check

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EDITORIAL | Lockdown kept SA shopping habits in check

While the well-heeled didn’t let lockdown dampen their aspirations, most South Africans stocked up on basics

Editorial

Taking a look at bellwether companies is one way to gauge the health of the economy, and more specifically how consumers are prioritising spending – a key component of GDP – as many families cope with job losses and salary cuts.

The massive (and expected) hit to economic growth in the second quarter was confirmed this week by Statistics SA. Trade was one of the hardest-hit sectors during the first three months of lockdown. What consumers are buying – whether they stocked up with pasta and rice or bought treadmills and dumbbells – shows the impact (or not) of lockdown on confidence, an important factor in driving spending, and a signal of future demand for companies that rely directly on consumers.

One of the bellwether companies that released results this week for the year to end June is Shoprite, which owns the Shoprite, Usave, Checkers and Checkers Hyper brands. For its sizeable customer base shopping at its 1,638 stores in SA, basics have been a priority, with the group’s private-label products showing growth...

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