GROWTH in South Africa’s retail sales was slower than expected in July, increasing 4.2% year on year at constant prices, compared with an upwardly revised 8.6% rise in June, Statistics South Africa said on Wednesday.
Sales were up by a marginal 0.1% on a seasonally adjusted basis in July from June, and increased by 6.2% in the three months ended July compared with the same period a year ago.
Economists polled by BDlive had expected year-on-year sales growth to slow to 7.2%.
Jana le Roux, economist at ETM Analytics, said there was no need to read too much into the slowdown as the data "has been choppy in recent months".
"Although we expect retail sales growth to moderate somewhat in the coming months, we don’t see it crashing lower," Ms le Roux said.
"We still think that activity in the retail sector remains fairly robust and would not justify another rate cut by the Reserve Bank," she added.
Figures showed that in terms of the 4.2% year-on-year increase in July‚ the highest annual growth rates were recorded for "other" retailers; followed by a contribution by retailers in textiles‚ clothing‚ footwear and leather goods; and retailers in pharmaceutical and medical goods‚ cosmetics and toiletries.
Nedbank economists noted that consumer spending was expected to lose momentum in the months ahead as a poor economic outlook, both locally and globally, hurts consumer confidence and higher prices of essential goods such as food and fuel weigh on disposable income.
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