18 October 2012
Retail trade sales rose by 6.4% year-on-year in August, beating market expectations, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) reported on Wednesday.
The biggest contributors to the increase included general dealers, retailers in textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods, as well as hardware, paint and glass.
Market expectations were that sales would rise by 4.6% in August.
Measured in real terms (constant 2008 prices), seasonally adjusted retail trade sales increased by 2% in August compared with July 2012.
Economists said the numbers suggested that South African domestic demand had remained relatively firm.
“Low interest rates, unsecured lending and above-inflation wage increases will continue to provide some support for retail sales over the coming months, but the growth rate will be contained by low consumer confidence and lack of job growth,” said Nedbank economists.
The risk to domestic economic growth remained on the downside, given the strain coming from a weaker global economy and the current waves of industrial action sweeping across the country, Nedbank said.
At its September meeting, the Reserve Bank’s monetary policy committee kept the Bank’s key repo rate unchanged at 5%, in line with market expectations.