Retail Trade Sales Retailers in glass half empty mode
Retail trade sales have declined for six straight months, putting us in what should probably be called a retail recession, dropping -1.4% in May, with general dealers (the largest portion of the retail index, down -3.7%), and retailers in hardware, paint and glass (down -8.7%) the biggest losers. Our own great sector, represented as retailers in food, beverages and tobacco in specialised stores was down -5.5%. FNB Economist John Loos says the worst is still coming, with the full impact of interest rate hikes and economic slowdown yet to reflect in the numbers. A surprise winner was textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods, up by +6%, perhaps as a result of the low inflation in the category and people buying new jeans after COVID.
Comment: Retail sales in South Africa have often been buoyed by sentiment, whether justified or not. No longer.