"Seasonally adjusted sales at current prices slumped by almost 50% under Level 5 lockdown in April, compared with March. This is the biggest monthly fall in sales since 2002, when Stats SA started publishing monthly growth figures in the current series," says Keshnee Naidoo, director for distributive trade statistics at Stats SA.
The main contributors to the 12,0% decrease in May were all ‘other’ retailers (contributing -6,5 percentage points); retailers in food, beverages and tobacco in specialised stores (contributing -2,2 percentage points); and general dealers (contributing -2,1 percentage points).
The largest negative annual growth rates were recorded for all ‘other’ retailers (-55,5%), retailers in household furniture, appliances and equipment (-30,1%); and retailers in food, beverages and tobacco in specialised stores (-29,1%).
On a monthly basis sales were up 74.2% after a 50.7% contraction in April. Quarterly sales dropped 19.5%.
The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown regulations since 27 March 2020 have had an extensive impact on economic activity, Stats SA says, and the latest retail statistics reveal the impact of the stricter levels of the country’s phased coronavirus lockdown.