Pretoria: Retail trade sales rose by 6.4% in August, beating market expectation, said Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).
“Retail trade sales increased by 6.4% year-on-year in August 2012,” said Stats SA on Wednesday.
The biggest contributors to the increase included general dealers, retailers in textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods as well as hardware, paint and glass.
Market expectation was that sales would rise by 4.6% in August.
Measured in real terms (constant 2008 prices), seasonally adjusted retail trade sales increased by 2% in August compared with July 2012.
Economists said the numbers suggest that domestic demand remains relatively firm.
“Low interest rates, unsecured lending and above-inflation wage increases will continue to provide some support for retail sales over the coming months, but the growth rate will be contained by low consumer confidence and lack of job growth,” said Nedbank economists.
The risk to domestic economic growth remains on the downside, given the strain coming from a weaker global economy and the current waves of industrial action sweeping across the country, said the bank.
At the September meeting of the Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee, the Committee had kept the repo rate unchanged at 5% in line with market expectation.