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Retail sales softened slightly in October as consumers held back in anticipation of Black Friday bargains in November. But the sector is still poised for growth as inflation eases. Retail trade sales increased by 3.2% year on year in October 2017 (R82.2bn) after a significant 5.4% year-on-year increase in September (R82.3bn). In recent years, Black Friday had become an important factor in determining the performance of the sector in the final quarter of the year, said Stanlib chief economist Kevin Lings. "This year will be no exception," he said. In 2016, Black Friday sales were followed by a slump in December retail sales since many people had brought forward their typical end-of-year purchases, said Lings. "Hopefully, retailers have been able to achieve a more consistent outcome during this end-of-year retail season." "We ascribe the slower growth rate to consumers having deferred some purchases in anticipation of large Black Friday savings in November," said FNB’s senior economic...

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