Chatsworth Centre is undoubtedly part of the rich and diverse fabric of Chatsworth, playing an active and productive role in the community. Pictures Leon Lestrade/ANA
JOHANNESBURG - Retail sales statistics released yesterday showed the sector expanded 5.4percent in September, above market expectations of 4.5percent.

On a monthly basis, retail trade decreased 0.7percent in September compared with the previous month.

The September figure, which was a last for the third quarter showed retail sales increased 1.4percent in the quarter following a 2percent rise in the second quarter.

Jason Muscat, a senior economic analyst at FNB, said the recent robustness of retail sales were an indication of the pent-up demand in the domestic economy, which has been aided by a benign inflation backdrop and a 25basis points interest rate cut

“We suspect that significant retailer discounting has been an additional tailwind. Should a local currency credit rating downgrade be triggered before the first half of next year, the sector’s momentum will almost certainly be derailed on even lower consumer and business confidence,” Muscat said.

Sales in the sector grew at a faster pace for general dealers, rising 3.4percent in September compared to 2percent in August and textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods surged 8.6percent compared with 1.8percent in the prior month.

Sales advanced at a slower pace for all other retailers, which registered an increase of 19.4percent in September compared with 27.2percent in the previous month. Food, beverages and tobacco in specialised stores bounced 5percent in the month compared with 5.5 percent in August.