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SA retail stores gear up for Black Friday mayhem

| Economic factors

Traditional retailers and online stores are gearing up for Black Friday, which is likely to give the SA retail sector a pre-Christmas boost.

Black Friday originated in the US and is the Friday after the American Thanksgiving when retailers sell their merchandise at massive discounts.

The term is historically known in the American retail industry as the day on which business began to turn a profit (in the black) after having operated at a loss (in the red) since January.

It is also regarded as the official start of the Christmas shopping season.

Checkers was the first retailer to bring the US sales day to SA shores in 2014 and has decided to go big on Friday November 27.

"In 2014 we served more than one million customers on Black Friday. This year we have even more deals on offer, on everyday products that were carefully selected with our customers' shopping needs in mind," said Neil Schreuder, marketing director for Shoprite Checkers.

Despite the customer "mayhem" in 2014, Schreuder at the time said it was exciting for retailers and that the day "exceeded their expectations".

Retail sales in South Africa grew below expectations at 2.7% year-on-year in September and Black Friday comes as a welcome boost to stores willing to capitalise on the popular day.

In Nigeria, Africa's leading economy, Jumia online store is preparing to cash in on the event and has hopes to outshine Alibaba’s "Singles Day" sales record set in China earlier in November.

Fatoumata Ba, managing director for Jumia Nigeria said: "Our projections for this Black Friday 2015 are surpassing anything we could have hoped for only a year ago."

According to Ba, the online store is showing statistics never seen before.

"The traction we are observing on Jumia for Black Friday is unprecedented, with 100 times more traffic on the website than a year ago at the same time," he said.

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