Retail trade figures continue falling

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pretoria - Retail trade sales in South Africa continued falling in August 2009 compared to the same time last year, Statistics South Africa reported on Wednesday.

Retail trade sales for August 2009 reflected a decrease of 7.0 percent, compared with August 2008. Retail trade sales for July also showed a decrease of 3.9 percent, compared with the same period last year.

Market consensus was that sales would fall at -3.2 percent. Retail trade figures fell by 3.9 percent.

"These are very weak numbers. While we are not surprised because of high number of job losses, they are a worry," Nedbank economist, Isaac Matshego told BuaNews.

Standard Bank senior economist, Dr Johan Botha, said the number had been fairly shocking.

"People thought we were approaching the bottom of the cycle. I think what is clear is volatility in the numbers," he said, adding that he had predicted sales to come in at -4 percent.

"Clearly job losses are a factor and people's disposable income is declining strongly. Consumer confidence is fragile," he said.