Statistics released today by Stats SA showed that retail sales rose by an unexpectedly-strong 2.9% year-on-year in June, its fastest rate since November 2016.

Sales rose by 2.1% in the second quarter.   On a monthly basis, retail sales ticked up 0.2% in June compared to the previous month. 

The highest annual growth rates were recorded for retailers in food, beverages and tobacco in specialised stores, which rose 12.4%  retailers in household furniture, appliances and equipment which surged 8.3 percent in the period and all "other" retailers which ticked up 5.8%. 

Jason Muscat, a senior economic analyst at FNB, said  the retail sales data indicated that consumers contributed positively to gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter.

“When viewed with the June mining and manufacturing data, suggests that GDP could rebound by as much at 2.5% quarter-on-quarter in the second quarter, but remain at a pedestrian 0.5% year-on-year. Overall, the outlook for household consumption remains muted given just how weak consumer confidence is, although a shallow rate cutting cycle should provide modest relief until higher taxes are likely to take hold after the February budget,” Muscat said.