There are reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the retail sales update for April released by Stats SA in mid-June. While the 0.6% year-on year rise in constant 2019 prices was nothing to get excited about, it was the third consecutive month of growth.

Additionally, there are signs that certain categories of retail spending that have been languishing for a long time are starting, albeit slowly, to improve. There are a number of reasons for this improvement, notably the profound reduction in intensity and frequency of load-shedding. By end-June, there will have been three months with no load-shedding but even in the April figures that trend was starting to be felt...

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