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Black Friday off to rocky start as some SA sites crash

Economists say that not all discounts are as good as they may seem.

A screengrab of the Takealot website on 24 November 2017.

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - Hundreds of irate consumers took to Twitter in the early hours of Friday morning when their favourite online stores crashed the minute the Black Friday specials became available.

Especially in the crosshairs were retail giant Takealot and online fashion store Superbalist.com.

A visit to the Takealot website claimed it will be back up and running soon, while Superbalist’s read “oh no, something went wrong.”

Both websites seem to have recovered, but not before a flood of angry consumers made their voices heard on social media.

One user tweeted: “I want a R15,000 voucher for emotional pain and stress.”

Another suggested that the retailers make use of their own specials to buy more servers to handle the online traffic.

At the same time, if you are planning to cash in on black Friday deals today be warned. Economists say that not all discounts are as good as they may seem.

The annual Black Friday phenomenon is taking hold in South Africa, with some outlets offering discounts of up to 50% today.

Chief economist at Stanlib Kevin Lings says that while stores may be offering certain discounts, the actual number of items on sale may be lower than you think.

“Some it’s a genuine discount, what percentage that constitute in total, my estimate will be around 10 to 15%.”

Nedbank economist Johannes Khoza says it’s not a bad idea for consumers to take advantage of deals that are clearly a bargain.

“Some shops are offering up to 50% discount. Even if we were in a high inflation environment, I mean 50% discount is a lot.”

With ratings agencies expected to make an announcement on a possible downgrade, today may be a Black Friday in more ways than one.

Economists suggest consumers rein in their spending until after the announcement.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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