“August Sales Rise, But Retail Sector Still Suffers Riot Hangover”


Retail sales rose 4.9% in August from July. Bruce Whitfield interviews FNB Senior Economist Siphamandla Mkhwanazi.

Image: Michal Jarmoluk on Pixabay

Retail sales rose 4.9% in August 2021 after falling 11.1% in July following riots and looting.

Year on year, retail trade sales fell 1.3% in August.

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Statistics SA reports that the decline in sales was led by general resellers and specialist retailers of hardware, paint and glass, followed by furniture, appliances and household equipment.

Bruce Whitfield discusses the numbers with Siphamandla Mkhwanazi, senior economist at FNB.

No matter how you look at these Siphamandla figures, the retail sector in South Africa is under enormous pressure?

Bruce Whitfield, host of The Money Show

Mkhwanazi responds with a sad laugh, noting that the August figures underscore a number of things, including that the sector is still suffering from a hangover from the July riots.

I think the affected workers would have spent prudently after these riots and those who participated in the looting would have found very little need to go shopping in August.

Siphamandla Mkhwanazi, Senior Economist – FNB

The larger part is what it says about the strength of demand… It tells us something about the lack of job creation… We’ve seen some improvement in some segments, but overall , demand is weak at this stage.

Siphamandla Mkhwanazi, Senior Economist – FNB

One way to look at the strength of underlying demand is simply to look at underlying inflation…after removing volatile items such as food or electricity. At around 3%, it’s approaching the lower target band…It’s one of the factors they look at in the interest rate decision…and an increase…

Siphamandla Mkhwanazi, Senior Economist – FNB

Listen to Mkhwanazi’s analysis on The Money Show:

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