Retail Trade Sales Trading blows
We knew it had been bad, but this? Retail trade sales for the bleak month of July fell by -9% YoY, after contracting
-7.2% in June. Breaking it down, general retailers saw a decline of -39.1%. Food, beverages, and tobacco contracted
-18.4%, driven substantially, no doubt, by the overall decline in disposable income, but also, no doubt, by the Prohibition. Clothing
was down -13.8%, but sales of household furniture rebounded, up +14.6%, as South Africans hunkered down and those with extra cash bought new sofas and TVs. Elsewhere in the fiscus, the jobs report indicates that the unemployment rate rose by one percentage point to 30.1% in Q1 of 2020 – the period before lockdown began in earnest.
Comment: It’s not too soon to hope that when it comes to retail sales, we have hit rock bottom and can begin the long, slow recovery, keeping further casualties to a minimum.