/ 14 December 2022

Retail sales contract in October

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South African retail trade sales recorded an eighth consecutive month of year-on-year decline in July, contracting 1.8%. (Dwayne Senior/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Retail sales contracted 0.6% year-on-year in October, with the hardware, paint and glass, pharmaceuticals and medical goods and cosmetics and toiletries being the biggest drag on growth, Statistics South Africa said on Wednesday.

Hardware, paint and glass recorded a 16th consecutive quarter of year-on-year decline, decreasing by 4.8% in October, said Raquel Floris, the deputy director for distributive trade statistics at Stats SA. Sales in pharmaceuticals and medical goods, cosmetics and toiletries declined by 3.4%.

Other retailers who performed poorly in October included those specialising in food, beverages and tobacco in specialised stores, which recorded a 2.3% decrease. 

On a month-on-month basis, seasonally adjusted retail trade sales increased by 0.4% in October compared with September.

Investec economist Lara Hodes had forecast that retail trade sales would contract by 1% year-on-year. 

“Persistent, heightened load-shedding continues to impede retailers’ ability to operate optimally while consumers are grappling with rising debt costs and declining real incomes,” she said. 

Economists from Nedbank had forecast an annual contraction of 0.9% in October in the face of tight household finances and weak consumer confidence