Retail Trade Sales No mention of how the merchants of doom did though…
The hoary sages over at Stats SA, with their scrolls and abacuses, report that South Africa’s retail trade sales decreased
-1.6% YoY in March. Chief contributors to the decline were general dealers, where sales declined -1.9% and, sadly, our own great industry, lumped together as retailers in food, beverages and tobacco in specialised stores, where sales dropped a worrying -6.6%. Retailers in textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods, however, saw an increase of +6.3%. Not unrelated, the Bureau for Economic Research reports that retail confidence dropped to 34% from 42% in the first quarter of 2023. “Consumer sentiment remains lacklustre as the spiralling cost of living erodes disposable incomes,” says Investec analyst Lara Hodes. “The indebted are also having to contend with rising interest rates […] Accordingly, we don’t anticipate a meaningful pick-up in household consumption expenditure.”
Comment: Woeful – although a -6.6% decline in our grocery sector does seem a bit steep.