Analysts expect to see a weak retail sales numbers as Statistics South Africa prepares to release the April retail trade sales figures on Wednesday. The number comes in the wake of a 3.2% contraction in economic growth in the first quarter of the year, coupled with a sharp decline in household consumption in the same period.

Analysts say the low growth environment and the high unemployment rate will keep retail stats muted for the most part of the year.

Economist at ABSA, Miyelani Maluleke says the petrol price increase in the month reduced consumer’s disposable income.

“I think the broader underlying story is that consumers are still under a lot of pressure… you certainly see that when you look at the BER consumer confidence index.  The other thing that we saw at the start of April is that big increase in fuel prices which we think could have dented consumers’ disposable income.  So we are expecting the number to only improve marginally to about 2 % year-on-year.”