South African Retail Sales Slump for First Time in 22 Months

(Bloomberg) -- South African retail sales slumped unexpectedly for the first time in 22 months in December.

Sales contracted 1.4 percent from a year earlier, compared with a revised 2.9 percent increase in November, Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa said in a report on its website Wednesday. That’s the first time sales declined since February 2017.

South African Retail Sales Slump for First Time in 22 Months

Key Insights:

  • The median of 10 economists’ estimates was for expansion of 2.5 percent in December.
  • Retailers including Shoprite Holdings Ltd., the continent’s biggest grocer, have reported slower growth that reflects the country’s weakened economic outlook. Lower-income consumers are struggling most of all because of higher fuel prices and increased value-added tax.
  • Africa’s most-industrialized economy hasn’t expanded by more than 2 percent a year since 2013, and the central bank in January cut its forecast for growth in gross domestic product this year to 1.7 percent from 1.9 percent.

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