A meagre boost in the retail sector will likely see SA steer out of the recession. Despite headwinds to the consumer — including a VAT increase, weak household credit extension, depressed sentiment, and a mounting fuel price burden — relatively benign inflation and interest rates helped growth in the sector, according to analysts. September’s retail sales increased by a meagre 0.7% from the same month in 2017, less than half the economists’ consensus of 1.9%, according to a poll by Bloomberg. While the retail sales figures compared to a year ago were disappointing, the rise over the quarter indicates that the economy saw growth off a very low base in the third quarter. The three-month seasonally adjusted figure, used to calculate GDP, came to 1.5% for September, compared to the previous quarter. Following manufacturing and mining figures last week, the uptick in retail sales may boost growth slightly when Statistics SA publishes its third-quarter GDP report next month. Consumer spen...

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