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The March figures for retail sales growth from Stats SA confirm the “normalisation” that has taken place with respect to this metric in the past couple of months. Because low base effects have fallen away — in the absence of strict lockdowns with respect to liquor or other retailing — growth rates are now much more stable. However, there is a definite inverse correlation between interest rates and retail sales growth; as interest rates rise, so eventually retail sales growth falls and vice versa. SA is now on an upward trajectory as far as interest rates are concerned, so the general trend in retail sales growth from now should be downwards. Overall, retail sales growth for March was 1.3% when measured on a yearly basis.

The best performing retail category was pharmaceuticals, toiletries & cosmetics, with year on year sales growth of 6.2% and the worst performing category was hardware, paint & glass — effectively a proxy for DIY outlets, which recorded a 12.4% contraction...

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