November retail trade sales up, but not as high as expected

Retail trade sales in November grew by 6.8% year-on-year according to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) falling short of the expected 7.5% growth forecast by analysts.

The highest annual growth rate was recorded for retailers in hardware, paint and glass, retailers in household furniture, appliances and equipment as well as retailers in textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods.

The 6.8% increase follows a revised 7.5% increase in October.

In real terms, retail trade sales for the three months ended November 2011 reflected an increase of 7.3% compared with the three months ended November 2010. General dealers, followed by retailers in textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods were the largest contributors to the 7.3% increase.

“This retail sales data is likely to sway the South African Reserve Bank to keep interest rates unchanged at the conclusion of the first MPC meeting [today],” said Standard Bank.

The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will make its decision on interest rates public later today.

“While it is evident that consumers are still struggling, which does not bode well for GDP growth, the Reserve Bank has maintained its commitment to keeping inflation within the official target,” said Standard Bank.

It added that the central bank was likely to keep the repo rate at an unchanged 5.5% for this year.

– Additional reporting by BuaNews