1 of 2024


 Newsletter No 1/19 January 2024



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Andrew Campion to depart Nike after 17 years

Source: finance.yahoo.com

According to a 10-Q filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Nike announced that Andrew Campion, the company’s current managing director of strategic business ventures, will leave the company on 5 April 2024.

Campion stepped into his current position in May 2023 as part of several executive and leadership changes the company made at that time. As the leader of Nike’s strategic business ventures, Campion focused on identifying and pursuing new business opportunities and oversaw Nike Virtual Studios.

Campion held several leadership roles at the company. He was previously the chief operating officer for four years. Before that, he was the company’s chief financial officer for five years.

The former COO and CFO will depart for a job in higher education, as the retailer undergoes efforts to streamline the organisation.

According to Yahoo! Finance, Campion’s exit comes weeks after the athletic giant announced new measures to “streamline” its organisation after reporting a profit beat for the second quarter. In the 21 December release, Nike said it sees the potential to save up to $2bn in costs over the next three years by “simplifying our product assortment, increasing automation and use of technology, streamlining our organisation, and leveraging our scale to drive greater efficiency.”

It’s been reported that Campion will join UCLA Anderson School of Management as programme director of its newly created Sports Leadership and Management Programme. According to UCLA, the programme is designed to provide inspiration, education and access to graduate and undergraduate students, including student-athletes interested in pursuing careers in the global business of sports.  Bizcomminity

Fall in real wages hammers November retail sales

By Thuletho Zwane

Rates increases of 475 basis points since November 2021 have severely dented consumers’ disposable income

Second straight month of declines was mainly due to lower sales of hardware, paint and glass, textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods. Picture: 123RF

Retail trade shrank in November in line with market expectations, reflecting the tough economic conditions households are experiencing as a result of high interest rates, weak confidence, and declining real income.

Stats SA data published on Wednesday shows retail trade, a key measure of local consumer health, shrank 0.9% in November 2023 from the previous November. October’s data was revised to a 2.3% fall from a 2.5% contraction initially.

November retail sales data is a key pulse check on the consumer. Trading Economics says this is the second successive month of declines in retail activity, due mainly to reduced sales of hardware, paint and glass and the textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods categories.

On a monthly basis, retail sales gained 0.4% in November after an upwardly revised 1.4% fall in October. Stanlib chief economist Kevin Lings said while it was positive, the month-on-month data was worse than expected. A monthly rise of 1.1% was foreseen, suggesting 2023 Black Friday sales disappointed.

Lings said that it can be argued that retail performance in 2023 was more resilient than expected, especially from June to August 2023, helped by the social relief of distress (SRD) grant, strong growth in credit card debt and a resilient labour market.

But “household disposable income has declined in real terms during each of the past three quarters, which has systematically undermined retail activity”. It is highly likely the sector will record a decline of 1%-1.5% for 2023, more than was expected at the end of the third quarter, signalling an overall recession in retail activity.

Lings said that “without a meaningful and sustained increase in SA’s overall level of fixed investment and employment and consequent rise in household disposable income, SA retail sales activity will struggle to reflect outright vibrancy or sustain a more vigorous rate of expansion”.

Absa said household consumption has been on a downward trajectory, falling in the second and third quarters of 2023 as a result of the cumulative rise in interest rates.

The Reserve Bank increased rates by 475 basis points between November 2021 and May 2023, taking its benchmark repo rate to 8.25%.

FNB senior economist Siphamandla Mkhwanazi said that the bank expects subdued consumer demand to persist in the near term, weighed down by sticky inflation, high rates and depressed consumer confidence.

Stats SA data shows the November decline was largely broad-based with five of the seven categories included in the retail index decreasing when measured year on year.

The hardware, paint and glass segment has been a key underperformer, falling by a further 5.3% year on year in November, from a 6.5% contraction previously, subtracting 0.4% points from the headline reading.

Additionally, the textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods category, which recorded impressive annual growth of 11.2% year on year in August and 13.5% in September, contracted 2% in November, slicing a further 0.4% points off the top line result. The general dealers’ category, which has the largest share of the retail index at more than 40%, increased 0.4% year on year, adding 0.2 percentage points to the headline reading and preventing a larger annual decline.

Investec economist Lara Hodes said that the November outcome is in line with the Bureau for Economic Research’s (BER) quarter four retail survey results, in which some clothing and footwear retailers noted that congestion at SA ports had led to the late arrival of their summer ranges, adversely affecting sales in the run-up to the summer holidays.

“It is [also] in line with spending patterns observed during Black Friday 2023. Specifically, consumers stocked up on well-priced goods, with spend at supermarkets in the lead, followed by department stores,” Hodes said.

Consumers remain largely constrained, grappling with a still elevated interest rate environment and lacklustre real incomes as inflation has ticked up, she said.

“Moreover, the expanded unemployment rate, which includes individuals who desire employment regardless of whether they are actively seeking work, is still above 40%, evincing the extent of SA’s unemployment predicament,” said Hodes.

Mkhwanazi said households are expected to experience less pressure in the medium to longer term. Consumers should benefit from the slowing inflation trend, positive employment gains and extension of the SRD grant. The envisaged interest rate cutting cycle, albeit modest, should help support spending on discretionary items, he said. “This should see household consumption expenditure lift from the estimated 0.8% year on year in 2023, to around 1.5% in 2024.”    

Pantone’s colour of the year calls for some respite

By Sandiso Ngubane

Image: 123rf.com

They don’t always get it right, but peach fuzz feels right on time

As most South Africans do, I spent the last few months of 2023 talking to people about my plans for December. Many ideas were born only to die, like a trip to Mozambique that was briefly discussed with a few friends who all agreed that a rowdy New Year’s Eve was not desirable.

Another plan with a different group of friends was to go to a music festival in the Western Cape; and with my closest friends, the discussion was a long-standing tradition of spending the last week of the year, and the first one of the new year, in Hogsback in the Eastern Cape. It’s something we’ve been doing for a few years now, but for some reason, towards the end of 2023, I had this urge to maybe do other things with other friends, so I kept my options open.

However, as the final weeks of the year inched closer and, much to many of my friends’ dismay, I made the decision that I would remain in my beloved Johannesburg, mostly waking up only to eat, read, chill, swim, stream stuff and sip wine on my balcony. Bliss.

What does this have to do with “peach fuzz” — Pantone’s recently announced colour of the year for 2024? Well, as per the colour institute’s reasoning behind the choice: “We chose a colour radiant with warmth and modern elegance. A shade that resonates with compassion, offers a tactile embrace and effortlessly bridges the youthful, with the timeless.”

All of that resonates with me. My decision to not go on holiday outside the city is one I came to having concluded that I’m exhausted, and spending time with other people, or doing things I usually find fun — attending festivals, hiking and son on — would only make me feel worse. I needed to practise some self-compassion and, for once, do absolutely nothing, with no-one.

But beyond my own exhaustion and need for self-compassion, indeed what the past few weeks have shown us is that the world needs a lot of compassion, period!

The state we are in

We’ve seen an outpouring of compassion for the victims of the violence raging in the Middle East. In the US and indeed SA, as we both head into an election year, many of the things voters are worried about are a tacit demand for empathy. This is what some in the US electorate are calling for with regards to Gaza, the attack on women’s health via the gutting of Roe v Wade in the US and the ever-present threat of gun violence.

Compassion is what we, at home, are calling for as many of us express fatigue with a government that has failed to change lives, while many of its officials are regularly caught with their hands in the cookie jar. ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula’s attempt to walk back some of the Zuma-era corruption he tried to cover up do not help, and people are evidently, and understandably, tired.

We’re done with a seemingly uncaring political class, and this is what’s opening many up to the possibility of change, the prospect of which is also terrifying for a country that is barely two generations past-apartheid.

If I were an adviser to anyone running for office, I would tell them to speak more about compassion, and to demonstrate how we can get back to that in a real sense because it is what we need both from our leaders and their vision for the future.

How Pantone picks its colour of the year

Pantone’s colour of the year programme turns 25 this year and has become a widely influential cultural touchstone precisely because the choice often reflects the role of colour in our shared human experience. According to the institute’s vice-president, Laurie Pressman: “To arrive at the selection each year, our team of global colour experts comb through the world looking for new colour influences.”

“This can include the entertainment industry and films that are currently in production; travelling art collections and new artists; fashion, all areas of design, aspirational travel destinations, new lifestyles, play styles or enjoyable escapes; as well as socioeconomic conditions.”

Though the institute’s colour experts reside in different parts of the world, based on their research, they often arrive at a consensus and the colour is settled on based on the mood of the global cultural zeitgeist.

There’s never any guarantee that Pantone’s chosen colour will find its way into the mainstream through fashion, design and so on, and, to be fair, I personally don’t think they always get it right. However, as we head into 2024, peach fuzz feels accurate.

We all need a warm embrace

The velvety, gentle, peach tone “whose all-embracing spirit enriches mind, body and soul” comes at a time when the world seems to be caught in an endless stream of chaos in the form of endless and new wars, political polarisation, environmental disasters and economic hardships. More than ever, due to connectivity that has made the world smaller than it ever was, it’s impossible to ignore the noise or turn a blind eye. There can be no fence-sitting.

With so much going on, this awareness can either propel us into positive action, which would require compassion and tolerance; or lead us to doom. Would you not prefer the former?

In spite of everything that is making it difficult to feel much beyond anxiety, anger and frustration, peach fuzz has a hopeful vibe that calls for some respite.   

It became more socially acceptable for women to wear shorts during World War 2, which introduced fabric rationing and forced women to take on more masculine jobs


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