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South Africa's retail sales up 1.3 percent year/year in July
(Adds analyst comment, details)
JOHANNESBURG, Sept 12 (Reuters) - South Africa's retail
sales rose in July as furniture and clothing sales grew, data
showed on Wednesday, as retailers battle to lift earnings amid
poor economic growth that has sent the economy into its first
recession since 2009.
Sales rose 1.3 percent year-on-year in July after increasing
by a revised 1.8 percent in June, the statistics office said.
Trade accounts for 15 percent of gross domestic product, and
improved demand is seen as pivotal to stimulating economic
activity and create jobs to ease record-high unemployment.
"The figure is good, it shows that maybe H1 wasn't so bad.
But there are still many headwinds for the household sector
going forward so I see the sector remaining strained," said
Elize Kruger, analyst at NKC Economics.
Africa's most industrialised economy slid to a recession,
data showed last week, with household expenditure showing a 1.3
percent decline as elevated debt, higher fuel prices and an
increase in value-added tax battered cash-strapped
Retailers are struggling to lift earnings amid the poor
economic growth, with continental grocer Shoprite, seen
as a barometer of consumer and retail health, reporting its
first annual earnings decline in 19 years in August.
Faith in President Cyril Ramaphosa's ability to revive the
economy after his election in February on a promise of
business-friendly reforms is flagging, with business and
consumer confidence declining, having risen on the prospects of
his promises to revive the economy.
(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana
Editing by James Macharia)
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