The retail sector took a worse-than-expected pummelling in July, as civil unrest in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng left big brands such as Massmart and Clicks counting the cost of damaged shops and looted distributions centres, compounded by the tail effects of the Covid-19 third wave.

Retail trade sales shrank 0.8% year-on-year in July, Stats SA showed on Wednesday — far worse than the 3.3% growth forecast by a Bloomberg poll of economists, and down from June’s revised 10.5% expansion. ..

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