High unemployment and weak economic growth curbed retail sales growth to 1.9% in 2016 compared to the 3.3% growth recorded in 2015. The slow pace of growth for 2016 mirrors the weak levels of growth documented in 2009, when SA was in recession. The inflation outlook for the next six months is dire, which has implications for South Africans’ spending power. Retail sales provide a crucial gauge on the state of household spending, which is one of the core drivers of economic growth in the country. Retail sales staged a comeback in November, growing 3.1% in a recovery economists attributed to Black Friday. In October 2016, retail sales contracted 0.2%, while December saw sales growth slow to 0.9%.

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