JOHANNESBURG – The Yoco Small Business Recovery Monitor showed all provinces had breached the halfway point to recovery as the average turnover of small- and medium-sized businesses (SME) increased 9 percent in the week to June 3, bringing the index up to 56 percent of pre-Covid-19 levels countrywide.
The recovery was strongest in the three days since the move to Level 3, where turnover had ranged from 65-67 percent of the pre-Covid levels.
Most SME’s could open this week after facing severe financial difficulties through Levels 5 and 4 of the lockdown.
Yoco, distributor of point-of-sale (POS) devices to more than 80 000 merchants who operate mainly small businesses, last month launched the Yoco Small Business Recovery Monitor , which tracks the recovery of small businesses in South Africa through the lockdown and thereafter.
Provincial improvements were driven by extremely strong increases in the Northern Cape (+15 percent), North West (+13 percent), and KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State (+11 percent). The Northern Cape was back to 73 percent of turnover.
The monitor showed that the move to lockdown level 3 had the biggest effect on the food/drink industry, which rose 11 percent as further restaurants re-opened for pick-up and delivery, while retail continued its strong recovery, at 74 percent of the pre-Covid level.
However, the health and beauty industry showed little improvement with a 4 percent increase to 40 percent. Beauty salons, hairdressers and barber shops had been almost completely shut down, with turnover close to just 10 percent of the pre-Covid levels.
Looking more closely at retail, the monitor found SME hardware stores appeared to have benefited from the lockdown period, trading at close to 150 percent of pre-Covid levels
Other sub-segments, which had been largely unaffected within lockdown level 4 were computer games/accessories, pet stores and automotive parts.
The sub-segments with the biggest negative impact were high value retail such as jewellery stores, art dealers, antiques and sporting goods. These were also segments, which tended to use weekend and craft markets to trade, none of which were currently open, the monitor found.
High touch environments such as nightclubs and bars, as well as wine farms and food markets saw turnover less than 10 percent.
Food trucks were closer to 50 percent of the pre-Covid turnover, together with bakeries and caterers.
In contrast, despite its high touch nature, dentistry had also been less impacted than other sub-industries, with close to 90 percent of pre-Covid turnover.
Vets appeared to be benefiting from the lockdown, with current independent Vet turnover at 125 percent of the pre-Covid levels.