X

This is not a paywall.

Register for free to continue reading.

We made a promise to you that we’ll never erect a paywall and we intend to keep that promise. We also want to continually improve your reading experience and you can help us do that by registering with us. It’s quick, easy and will cost you nothing.



Nearly there! Create a password to finish up registering with us:


Please enter your password or get a login link if you’ve forgotten


Open Sesame! Thanks for registering.

First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

We'd like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick

More specifically, we'd like those who can afford to pay to start paying. What it comes down to is whether or not you value Daily Maverick. Think of us in terms of your daily cappuccino from your favourite coffee shop. It costs around R35. That’s R1,050 per month on frothy milk. Don’t get us wrong, we’re almost exclusively fuelled by coffee. BUT maybe R200 of that R1,050 could go to the journalism that’s fighting for the country?

We don’t dictate how much we’d like our readers to contribute. After all, how much you value our work is subjective (and frankly, every amount helps). At R200, you get it back in Uber Eats and ride vouchers every month, but that’s just a suggestion. A little less than a week’s worth of cappuccinos.

We can't survive on hope and our own determination. Our country is going to be considerably worse off if we don’t have a strong, sustainable news media. If you’re rejigging your budgets, and it comes to choosing between frothy milk and Daily Maverick, we hope you might reconsider that cappuccino.

We need your help. And we’re not ashamed to ask for it.

Our mission is to Defend Truth. Join Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

South African retail trade sales rise 3.4% year on year...

Business Maverick

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

SA retail trade sales rise 3.4% year on year in April

(Photo: Leila Dougan)

The economic data from the second quarter of 2022 has been generally bleak. But South Africans at least seem to be still spending, notably on durable goods.

Retail trade sales in South Africa rose 3.4% year on year in April, according  to data released by Statistics South Africa on Wednesday. 

This exceeded consensus expectations of 1.6% growth and indicates that South Africans are still spending, though on a month-on-month basis there was a slight dip of 0.2% – in effect a flat reading on that front. 

Still, the year-on-year number is not a bad sign. After a robust jump of 7.7% in January, which was partly a reflection of base effects, annual growth in retail trade sales had been mixed. In February, there was a 0.9% decline, while in March there was a 1.7% rise. 

Sales in household furniture, appliances and equipment, which recorded year-on-year growth of 6.8% in April, led the way. This shows that South Africans are spending on durable goods and, in some cases, this will require credit, which in turn is a sign of consumer confidence. It also probably makes the banks happy. 

The April retail trade sales data also offer a sharp contrast with other indicators from the month, and this quarter more broadly. Mining production fell almost 15% year on year in April, while manufacturing production decreased 7.8%. Both sectors also had fairly steep monthly declines. 

Read in Daily Maverick: The party’s over as mining and manufacturing production crash in April

The KZN floods and the return of load shedding with a vengeance played key roles in the manufacturing downturn – and probably played a role in the slight month-on-month retail decline – while wider state dysfunction, including Transnet’s woes and industrial action, have curbed mining’s potential. 

On the consumer side, there may still be some release of pent-up demand related to the pandemic.

“The economic shocks in the current quarter have impacted more negatively on the production side of the economy, compared with the consumer-driven sectors that are possibly still recovering from the scarring left by the lockdowns,” said Jee-A van der Linde, an economist at Oxford Economics Africa, in a note on the data. 

Business confidence this quarter has also been in decline. It all points to a slowdown in economic growth after an unexpected Q1 bounce that saw the economy expand 1.9% on a quarterly basis, bringing it back to pre-Covid levels. 

The retail sector is an indication of wider economic health. It shows, for example, that households have at least some disposable income. But that depends on other engines in the economy and those are sputtering at a time when inflation and interest rates are rising, trends which could cool consumer demand and retail trade sales going forward. 

For now at least, it seems South Africans are buying stuff like furniture, even if – unlike the country’s president – they don’t have millions of bucks to stuff in it. DM/BM

Gallery

Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

No Comments, yet

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted