Retail sales in South Africa fell 1.4 percent in December of 2018 compared to a downwardly revised 2.9 percent rise in November and surprising markets who had expected a 2.7 percent gain. It is the first decline in retail trade since February 2017, as Black Friday discounts attracted more shoppers in November. Lower sales were seen for: textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods (-2.7% vs 4.1% in November); general dealers (-1.0% vs 2.5%); food, beverages & tobacco (-2.7% vs -0.7%); hardware, paint and glass (-2.7% vs -1.4%) and pharmaceuticals goods & cosmetics (-3.1% vs 3.2%). In addition, sales rose less for household furniture, appliances and equipment (0.3% vs 15.8%) and all other retailers (1.6% vs 2.1%). In Q4 2018, retail sales grew 1.0 percent over a year ago. On a monthly basis, retail sales slumped 4.8 percent, the most since May 2011, after a downwardly revised 2.8 percent gain in the prior month. Retail Sales YoY in South Africa averaged 4.45 percent from 2003 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 15.50 percent in September of 2006 and a record low of -6.30 percent in April of 2009.
Retail Sales YoY in South Africa is expected to be 1.60 percent by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. Looking forward, we estimate Retail Sales YoY in South Africa to stand at 2.10 in 12 months time. In the long-term, the South Africa Retail Sales YoY is projected to trend around 2.20 percent in 2020, according to our econometric models.