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SA's February retail sales fall 1.5%

In a statement, Stats SA said: “Retail trade sales, at constant 2008 prices, for the three months ended February 2010 reflected a decrease of 2.5 percent compared with the three months ended February 2009, while sales for the corresponding period in 2009 decreased by 1.1 percent.    
 SA’s February retail sales fall 1.5%
 
 
In a statement, Stats SA said: “Retail trade sales, at constant 2008 prices, for the three months ended February 2010 reflected a decrease of 2.5 percent compared with the three months ended February 2009, while sales for the corresponding period in 2009 decreased by 1.1 percent.  
 
“The main contributors to the decrease of 2.5 percent for the three months ended February 2010compared with the three months  ended  February  2009  were  all  other  retailers,  general dealers and  retailers  in  hardware,  paint  and  glass.
 
“Retail  trade  sales,  at  constant  2008  prices,  for  February  2010  reflected  a  decrease  of  1.5 percent  compared  with February 2009.”

Carmen Altenkirch, Nedbank Economist, confirmed that the figures are “much weaker” than the market was expecting, indicating that consumers are still under financial strain.
 
“We may have seen a bounce in the Christmas season but people are still feeling uncertain about the outlook for the economy and prefer rather to pay down debt. There is reluctance for new debt,” Altenkirch said.

EXPECTED IMPROVEMNENT
 
The general consensus among industry experts was that the figure would show an increase of 0.6 percent year-on-year.

Standard Bank Senior Economist, Dr Johan Botha, said: “Today's data is disappointing and surprising given that the economy was growing in the fourth quarter by 3.2 percent. The numbers are not looking good at the moment.

“It appears to me that while the economy is growing households are finding it difficult and are probably lagging behind the recovery by at least one quarter.”

However, both Botha and Altenkirch agreed that sales were still expected to pick up as 2010 progresses and the World Cup supports consumer spending.
 
Edited by Chris Farnell  
 
Source: www.statssa.gov.za


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