Growth in the volume of retail trade sales slowed in June, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) data showed on Wednesday. This points to a recovery that remains far from robust, with historically low interest rates failing to coax a spending splurge out of hard-pressed consumers. But at least the sector is not contracting.
On a year-on-year basis, retail trade sales grew by 10.4% in June, moderating from 16.3% in May and 95.7% in April. These numbers all need to be taken with a big pinch of salt. April last year was the initial and hardest month of lockdown, when only groceries and other basic necessities could be purchased and the economy was in free fall. As 2021 progresses, expect the year-on-year growth figures to slow further.
On a monthly basis, retail trade sales rose by 0.6% from June, a trend which FNB senior economist Siphamandla Mkhwanazi noted was “a more meaningful measure under the circumstances and crucial for the calculation of quarterly GDP growth”. This was also a moderation from May, when 2.3% growth was posted on a monthly basis after April’s 0.5% decline.
“This suggests a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted volume increase of 0.7% in 2Q21, much lower than the…