Consumers are showing signs of being under pressure as data points to fewer shopping trips in October. Figures released by Statistics South Africa show that retail trade sales decreased by 1.3% in October compared with a 5.1% increase in September 2021.

However, when compared to the same period last year retail trade sales increased by 1.8%.

The main contributors to the annual increase were pharmaceuticals and medical goods, cosmetics and toiletries as well as textile and clothing.

A Senior Economist at Standard Bank, Elna Moolman, says the decrease on a month-on-month basis can be attributed to weakness in the labour market and the lingering effects of the July unrest.

“So, we’re assuming it was because businesses had to close and we’re assuming that a lot of that was temporary layoffs and there were some job losses in the government sector, which is probably more of time issues in terms of the extended public works program. So, we’re hoping that that is temporary and that we ultimately see a gradual reversal and improvement there. But we are concerned about it. We’re all prepared to see a significant impact of the unrest directly immediately, but now we have to see what longer-term indirect impact is.”

Economic Data | Consumers showing signs of being under pressure: Elna Moolman