Retail contract in October

Retail sales contracted 0.6 percent year-on-year in October, with machinery, paint and glass, pharmaceuticals and medical products, and cosmetics and toiletries the biggest drag on growth, it said Wednesday Statistics South Africa.

Hardware, paint and glass posted a 16th consecutive quarter of year-on-year decline, with a 4.8% decrease in October, said Raquel Floris, deputy director of distribution trade statistics at Stats SA. Sales of pharmaceutical and medical products, cosmetics and toiletries decreased by 3.4%.

Other retailers that performed poorly in October included food, beverage and specialty tobacco specialty stores, which posted a 2.3% decline.

On a month-over-month basis, seasonally adjusted retail sales rose 0.4% in October compared to September.

Investec economist Lara Hodes had forecast retail sales to fall 1% year-on-year.

“Persistent and increased load shedding continues to impede retailers’ ability to operate optimally while consumers face rising debt costs and declining real incomes,” he said.

Nedbank economists had forecast an annual contraction of 0.9% in October amid household financial difficulties and weak consumer confidence.

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