Growth in SA's retail trade sales at constant (2008) prices for April is expected to slow to 4.1% year on year (y/y)‚ from y/y growth of 6.8% in March‚ according to a survey of leading economists by I-Net Bridge.
Forecasts among the 11 economists ranged from 2.5% to 6.9%.
Retail sales are a key gauge of consumer expenditure levels. It falls into a sector that contributes some 14% to the total value added to growth.
Current economic conditions make it hard for consumers to spend‚ according to Meganomics economist Colen Garrow.
"Apart from slower growth in credit aggregates‚ a fragile labour market‚ weakening confidence statistics and a barrage of increases in administered prices weigh on household budgets‚" he said.
Thabi Leoka‚ research strategist at Standard Bank Research‚ said a slowdown in consumer demand was captured in the first-quarter growth data‚ where the tertiary sector‚ which is made up predominantly of consumer demand variables‚ waned slightly to 3.0% from 5.2% in the fourth quarter.
The bank pencilled retail trade sales in at 5.9% y/y in April.
The current concern in the face of weak manufacturing activity was that if SA's retail spending growth faltered‚ economic growth itself would flag‚ Annabel Bishop‚ Investec Group economist‚ said.
"If economic growth slows substantially‚ unemployment will rise‚ in turn further reducing retail spending and the tax revenue government relies on for its funds‚" she said.
The April retail trade sales data will be released by Statistics SA at 1pm on Wednesday‚ 13 June.
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