Signals from consumer-related indicators have been mixed of late, but last week’s data encouragingly showed a consistent improvement (albeit still weak) in recent outcomes.

Stats SA’s official retail data showed an increase in sales volumes of 0.5% in April compared with March — a third consecutive month of positive growth. This data series has shown some volatility in recent months, making it unusually tricky to pin down a trend. For example, April’s real (inflation-adjusted) sales have still not reverted to the level reached by a spike (after adjusting for seasonal factors, such as higher holiday sales) in December, though that spike then relapsed in January. Still, April’s sales volumes exceeded the 2023 average by 1%...

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