Out of stocks in South Africa – crisis and opportunity

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The level of out of stocks in South Africa is at an all-time high. According to a recent survey by the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa, 40% of retailers are experiencing stockouts of at least one product category. This is up from 30% in 2021.

There are a number of reasons for the increase in out of stocks. One reason is the global supply chain crisis, which has led to delays and shortages of goods. Another reason is the rising cost of fuel, which has made it more expensive to transport goods to South Africa. And finally, the recent wave of labor unrest in South Africa has also contributed to the problem.

The cost of the out of stocks is significant. The Consumer Goods Council estimates that the cost of lost sales due to out of stocks is around R20 billion per year. This is money that could be going into the pockets of South African consumers.

The following bar chart shows the percentage of retailers experiencing stockouts in each product category:

Product CategoryPercentage of Retailers Experiencing Stockouts
Personal care35%
Home care30%

The most affected product categories are food and personal care. This is because these are essential items that consumers need on a regular basis. The rising cost of fuel and the labor unrest have made it more difficult and expensive to get these goods to South African stores.

The out of stocks are having a negative impact on South African consumers. They are having to spend more time and money searching for the goods they need. And in some cases, they are simply not able to find the goods they need. This is having a negative impact on their quality of life.

The government could take action to address the out of stocks problem but they are not interested in the economy. The ideal would be for them to work with the private sector to find ways to improve the efficiency of the supply chain and reduce the cost of fuel. However, a socialist/marxist government won’t. They also need to find ways to resolve the labor unrest but they will not do this either because of self interest and a care-less attitude towards the private sector.

The out of stocks are a serious problem for South Africa. They are having a negative impact on consumers and the economy.

Out of stocks can provide an opportunity for the sharp retailer or independent business person. Alternative suppliers can be sourced, stock can be obtained from other businesses that may be overstocked and when stock is available, stock levels can be increased and sold later at a higher price.

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