Retail trade sales for Jan come in lower

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pretoria - Retail trade sales for January came in lower than expected at 1.9% year-on-year.

“Measured in real terms (constant 2012 prices), retail trade sales increased by 1.9% year-on-year in January 2013,” said Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) on Wednesday.

The main contributors to the 1.9% increase were general dealers (contributing 1.2% percentage points) and retailers in textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods (contributing 1.1% points).

This followed month-on-month changes of 0.4% in December 2012 and 0.8% in November 2012.

On Wednesday, Stats SA announced that the reference year for retail sales at constant prices was changed to 2012 prices from 2008 prices. The new deflators are based on the reweighted and rebased consumer price index as well as information obtained from data collected through the 2009 retail large sample survey.

“Looking ahead, consumer spending is likely to moderate during 2013 as weak consumer confidence, heightened worries about job security and high debt makes consumers more cautious about spending on non-essential items. High inflation will also erode disposable income, offsetting some of the benefits of higher wage settlements,” said Nedband economists.

The bank noted that the figures indicated that consumer spending continued to be weak.

“The overall economic outlook also remains weak and fragile, while upside risks to inflation have increased due to a weaker rand. In this environment of rising inflation and weak growth, the MPC will probably keep rates on hold for most of this year,” said the bank.

The MPC is to hold its second meeting on interest rates from 18 to 20 March