Black Friday stole Christmas from SA retailers

By Prinesha Naidoo

(Bloomberg) – South African retail sales unexpectedly fell in December as general dealers’ trade dropped.

Retail sales decreased by 0.4% from a year earlier, compared with an expansion of 2.6% in November, Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa said on Wednesday in a report on its website. The median estimate of seven economists in a Bloomberg survey was for a 2% increase.

Key insights:

  • The drop in sales adds to negative economic data for the fourth quarter after factory output plunged in December and the unemployment rate remained at an 11-year high. Utility Eskom implemented the deepest power cuts yet at the end of 2019 and that weighed on economic activity.
  • Sales were 3.1% lower than in November when Black Friday trade boosted business and many consumers front-loaded their usual festive-season shopping.