South African consumers are spending more than economists thought, with a consensus from a poll done by Trading Economics expecting the June figure to be about 2.2%. The monthly rise from May was 0.2% against an expected monthly contraction of 0.3%.
Retail sales form part of the trade sector of GDP, which was the worst-performing sector in the first quarter, contributing to a 0.7% contraction in GDP and placed SA in technical recession.
Statistics SA reported that second-quarter total retail sales came to R186bn, adjusted for inflation by using constant 2012 prices. SA’s quarterly GDP is about R3-trillion, so retail sales contribute about 6% of the total.
At current prices, the second quarter’s retail sales came to R236bn, which was 7.1% higher than the matching period’s R220bn.
The best-performing sector was specialised food and beverage stores – delicatessens rather than grocery chains. This sector rang up 12.4% higher sales, but only contributed 7.5% of the June total of R61bn at 2012 prices.
Furniture retailers enjoyed 8.3% annual growth and contributed 5.2% of the total. Hardware stores suffered a 7.1% decline in sales, taking their contribution down to 7.2%.
What Stats SA calls general dealers – the major grocery chains – grew sales 2.5% in June, contributing 44% of the total.