Retail Trade Sales Buy the numbers
The hoary sages over at StatsSA released the retail trade sales figures yesterday, and we wish there was a better story to tell: overall, retail trade sales decreased by -0.6% YoY in December, with the biggest losers being retailers of pharmaceuticals and medical goods, cosmetics and toiletries, down -5.2% and contributing -0.3 of a percentage point to the sorry haul; and hardware, paint and glass, down -3.9%. And lest we get too smug, this great industry we call home, characterised as food, beverages and tobacco in specialised stores, was down -1.1%, contributing -0.1 points to the decline. Sales for the year were up +1.7% from 2021, but that was of course off a very low base, with retailers in textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods doing the heavy lifting at 6.8% and contributing 1.1 percentage points. Finally, for the final quarter of last year, sales in our sector declined -2.4% contributing -0.2 of a percentage point to the overall decline of -0.2%. Also in this week: CPI for Jan 2023 was up +6.9%, with food and non-alcoholic beverages the largest contributor at +13.4%.
Comment: Two sets of numbers which reflect the enormous pressure on South African consumers – and indeed businesses – right now.