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Signum Research

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Joaquín Sánchez

Joaquin Sanchez, CFA
29.nov.17

Signum Perspective

Black Weekend 2017

For the seventh time in a row, Mexico’s equivalent of Black Friday in the U.S. (Buen Fin, or Black Weekend), took place between November 17th and 20th.

Consumption in Mexico has remained robust. Following a difficult start to the year due to expectations of US protectionist policies, there have been no repercussions year to date with consumption showing a favorable trend.

Remittances have been high enough to ensure that consumption remains on track, despite inflation of around 6%. Banco de Mexico still expects the inflation rate to return to its target range next year.

Thus, consumer confidence has remained stable. While trailing 100, consumption has been strong enough to ensure good sales growth rates.

A period of growth among large stores measuring more than 10,000 square feet redefined the retail sector. Growth is now being driven by smaller stores that are more accessible to smaller populations and offer more practical shopping experiences.

Online retailing has especially been the focus, with most of Black Weekend’s sales taking place through the large retail chains’ web sites.

While Mexico is far from a situation like the one in the US where each year many brick and mortar stores are closed owing to sector redefinition with online sales representing the bulk of retail stores’ sales, Mexico is catching up.

With respect to on-line retailing, one of the main players over Black Weekend was Amazon, which offered big discounts and a wide variety of products deliverable within one to two days.

Once again, promotional campaigns during the run up to Black Weekend were intense both in terms of print media, radio, and TV broadcasting.

Unlike in previous years, retailers began announcing the prices of some products or the direct discounts they would apply.

For example, owing to competition, Walmart did not provide concrete prices of the main articles involved in the promotions, and for the first time, revealed at a press conference the price of some anchor articles such as TV screens.

Online sales began at 12 midnight and some stores, mainly price clubs, also opened their doors at that time. Black Weekend has become a social phenomenon in which people queue up outside stores and listen to music and eat before racing inside after the doors open.

Most of the items sought are big-ticket ones, such as TV screens, large household goods, and motorbikes, among others.

Subsequently, and unlike in prior years, department stores opened their doors from 8:00am to 10:00am and additional promotions were offered such as double points, among others.

In its early years, the main promotion over Black Weekend consisted of interest-free months, but that has since changed. The biggest promotions now consist of direct discounts or three for the price of two in a bid to boost sales.

The main offers came from department stores with discounts of as much as 40% and 12 or 18 interest-free months.

Price clubs continued the strategy of offering interest-free months and returning three monthly installments. The department stores where this promotion occurs mainly sell furniture, large household items and electronics.

Traditionally, the best sales day is the last one, but we noticed that this time the first day was a good sales day with sales surpassing last year’s levels.

This year, total sales have once again surpassed expectations. Preliminary figures indicate double digit sales growth in a +20-30% range.

In the supermarket sector, Walmart should once gain come out on top with a clear price, discount, promotional and interest-free-month differentiation strategy across areas.

Online bargains were very favorable, in some cases even more appealing than at stores, so the sales impetus could be even higher.

Grupo Elektra was also active in terms of promotions with a wide range of products and very competitive offers in the sector. Given the recent launch of its web page, we think it was one of the best options over Black Weekend.

One of the companies we think did not do so well is Soriana. The results of its July Giveaway promotion were not that good and the company did not manage to sell what it expected, so inventories remained high.

We think the company tried selling part of that inventory over Black Weekend, but at the cost of margins.

Amazon remains a threat for the retail sector, and while it has won market share thanks to the ease with which consumers are able to buy many different items on the same web page, we believe the investment other retailers have made also give consumers a competitive offer.

Most of Liverpool’s sales were due to discounts preferring a cautious approach to credit and interest free months given the high PDL ratio of the company’s loan portfolio.

In sum, although each year the comparison base is increasingly high and Black Weekend sales growth could begin to slow, the reality is that consumers continue to delay their purchases in anticipation of it, and initial growth estimates are consistently surpassed.



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