Picture: 123RF/ GUI YONGNIAN
Picture: 123RF/ GUI YONGNIAN

Retails sales growth increased 4.9% in February from the same month in 2017, Statistics SA reported on Wednesday.

This beat the economists’ consensus of February’s retail sales growth slowing to 2.8% from January’s 3.1%.

In current prices, SA’s retailers sold R80.3bn worth of goods in February, up from R78bn in January and R75bn in February 2017.

Stats SA uses constant prices set to 2015 to strip inflation out of its growth figures. In constant prices, February’s sales came to R71.7bn, up 1.8% from January’s R70bn and 4.9% from February 2017’s R68.4bn.

Of the seven sectors Stats SA breaks its retail figures into, furniture retailers showed the biggest annual growth of 14.2%, maintaining a strong growth of 14.1% reported in January. Furniture sales in constant prices amounted to R3.3bn, or 4.6% of the total.

Clothing shops reported the next biggest growth of 7.1%, contributing 15.8% of the total.

Hardware shops were the worst performers, with sales only growing a fraction to R5.7bn in February from R5.3bn in January.