According to recent retail data from Statistics SA, the furniture sector was the only decliner in May, suggesting that Ellerines is not the only furniture retailer in trouble. Furniture sales were down 2.5 percent that month.
Other furniture retailers such as Lewis and JD Group have posted numbers weaker than comparable periods.
Lewis reported merchandise sales growth of 2.7 percent in the second half of the year to March compared with 6.4 percent in the first half.
The JD Group’s last reported results for the six months to December last year showed sales were up only 4.2 percent, down from the previous six-month period, which reported 6 percent to 8 percent growth.
“It does seem, however, that Ellerines has had a much tougher time than its peers,” Argon Asset Management retail analyst Funeka Beja said. “We are expecting a slowdown in sales to be reported by Lewis and JD Group, but we are by no means forecasting declines to the extent of Ellerines.”
Cassie Treurnicht at Gryphon Asset Management said that the lower-income consumers were under pressure and that this was reflected in Ellerines’s poor performance.
“The lower living standards measurement class is under tremendous pressure and Ellerines is on the lower side,” Treurnicht said, adding that it was feeling the pinch more than other furniture retailers because it also offered financial services. – Zandi Shabalala