Retail spending showed signs of recovery in January, growing 1.2% on an annualised basis, slightly faster than analysts had expected. Consumer spending drives more than 60% of SA's GDP, with Statistics SA reporting on Wednesday that seasonally adjusted retail trade sales increased 1.5% in January from the previous month. In the three months ended January 2019, seasonally adjusted retail trade sales increased 0.2% on an annualised basis. Retailers in the pharmaceuticals and medical goods, cosmetics and toiletries sector registered the biggest increase, growing sales 6% year on year. Statistics SA’s retail figures for December had showed a shock decline of 1.4% instead of the expected 2.1% growth. This had been particularly bad news for a sector that relies on increased activity in the festive period to boost their results. There have subsequently been a series of disappointing corporate earnings updates from local retailers in recent weeks. The JSE's general retail index is by far th...

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