SA retail sales down 5.1% for the third quarter of 2020

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Annual retail sales for the third quarter 2020 have fallen by 5.1%, according to data from Statistics South Africa.

Stats SA on Wednesday also released retail sales data for September, which showed a slight 1.1% month-on-month improvement from August. But sales levels were still 2.7% lower than the same time last year. August's year-on-year decline was 4.1% and July's -8.6%.

The biggest negative contributors to third quarter figures  - which cover the three months ending September - were all "other" retailers – a category which includes small retailers providing specialised stationery, jewelry and sport goods. This category reported an annual decline in sales of 32.8%.

The second biggest negative contributor was the clothing, textiles, footwear and leather goods category, which declined by 9.9% compared to last year.

Hardware and paint, meanwhile, grew by 12.4% and household goods sales were up 11.7%, while sales of pharmaceutical and medical goods grew by 3.1%.

The biggest negative contributors for September's -2.7% year-on-year fall was also in the "other" retailer category, which fell by 27.2%. Sales of textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods fell by 7.8%, while pharmaceuticals, medical goods, cosmetics and toiletries, dipped by 4.1%.

Ahead of the data release, FNB said it expected the lifting of the alcohol sales ban to support sales volumes for September. Sales of food, beverages and tobacco in specialised stores grew by 2.6% when compared to the previous year.

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