The reopening of physical stores accelerated sales in these channels and improved inventory turnover, in a scenario that — for the first time in more than a year — shows greater normality in the retail chain.
Despite the fact that there is still a certain disruption in the deliveries of products by the industry because of the shortage of inputs, the lack of goods fell. This reduced the need for emergency stock on the eve of the start of order placings for products for sale on Black Friday and Christmas. Year-end purchases begin to be made after August.
“We no longer see so much lack of goods, it became something more punctual,” said Jorge Nascimento Junior, president of Eletros, a trade group that represents electronic goods manufacturers. Via, owner of Casas Bahia and Ponto Frio chains, has been resuming more normal levels of industry purchase in this second quarter.
However, even with the change of scenario compared to the beginning of the year, the performance in stores — and the adjustment in inventories — has varied not only by sector, but also among categories of the same segment.
The return of the consumer to purchases in brick-and-mortar stores occurs unevenly, with a direct relation with pent-up demand, which requires a fine adjustment in orders.
Televisions have lost more momentum this year than smartphones, for example, which keeps demand accelerated, according to data from research firm GfK — especially after LG’s exit from the mobile market. GfK shows electronics sales up 26% from January to June 6, below the average for durable goods, at 39%, based on 2020, when physical stores were closed. But computers are up 69%, and cell phones 39%, both also on a high comparison basis.
According to Allied, a distributor of consumer goods and online retailer, until April, the sale of TVs fell 14% in volume – the increase in revenue came from the adjustment of prices in the year. “In the second half, when we should see a stronger movement of total competition, with all segments and products competing with each other after the broader vaccination, we may have more varied performances. It is possible that TV sales suffer more than notebook sales, for example,” Allied CEO Silvio Stagni said.
According to the company, the inventory level today is slightly lower than normal, in part due to adjustments in expectations regarding what was seen in 2020 — when the sale of electronics rose 13.5%, according to a trade survey made by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). “The market reality is different from what we saw when the pandemic began, but we also have to see if this is not kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy,” he said.
“Everyone has repeated that some segments and categories should slow down, and others with pent-up demand should grow, companies end up organizing for this,” says the CEO of the group, owner of the MobCom site and distributor of 10 million items. He recalls that the orders for Black Friday begin to be placed for the industry two to three months before the event in November, and this interval allows the market to gather more data and define strategies to try and better exploit the date.
Data from companies and research groups show that the rate of acceleration in sales today is stronger in fashion retail and in the service field, such as restaurants, than in the electronics and home appliances market, which has a stronger base of comparison.
This year, from January to April, which includes the first month of a stronger reopening of stores, and the beginning of a greater normality in retail, the sale of electronics advanced 11% (versus 10% in 2020), construction grew 25% (compared with 11% in 2020), but fashion retail stopped falling, according to monthly data from the IBGE survey. Clothing closed the period up 3.6%, the first acceleration since the beginning of the pandemic.
There are retailers that have made adjustments to orders because they came from higher purchase volumes, and others that have not reduced purchases from the durable goods industry. This is because they understand that demand should remain high for all segments, with the return of activities that were stopped.
“We are maintaining the level of purchases of the year, for sale for the next few months, because we do not believe in a slowdown,” said José Domingos, general superintendent at Lojas Cem, with 287 stores in four states. “When other sectors return to normality, such as events and services, which have a mass of workers who stopped shopping and will start consuming again, we expect an accelerated strong demand,” he said.
In the first half, Lojas Cem’s sales grew 34%, on top of the base most affected by the pandemic — the company does not sell online, only in physical stores.
Mr. Domingos says that the lack of components that affected the global chain led the industry to deliver more goods to the largest purchasing chains, which currently are less affected by bottlenecks, and that medium and small chains were more affected. He also said that production in the Free Economic Zone of Manaus is more stable, and the smaller chains are already feeling it.
Weeks ago, Abinee, the electrical industry association, released a survey showing an increase from 16% to 20%, from April to May, in the number of companies that have component inventories below normal. But this rate was higher, at 23%, in March.
Another major chain, Via, was starting to reduce inventory levels last month, which reduces cash consumption. Throughout the pandemic, it increased this volume because of uncertainties in production and delivery. “We have a visibility of improvement in the industry supply for the third quarter. So we have already started, in this [second] quarter, to slow down a little bit the stockpiling,” CEO Roberto Fulcherberguer told analysts in May.
“We are measuring this daily, all the indicators we see up to this point lead us to believe that this will be possible, that we will already have a flatter supply in the third quarter. If we understand something different, we take a step back, but data suggest that we will make a reduction.”
Source: Valor international