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South Africa Retail Sales Rise Less Than Forecast

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South Africa’s retail sales rebounded at a slower-than-expected pace in March, data from Statistics South Africa showed on Wednesday.

Retail sales rose an unadjusted 1.3 percent year-on-year in March, reversing a 0.9 percent fall in the previous month. That was below economists’ forecast for an increase of 1.5 percent.

The annual increase in March was mainly supported by a 6.2 percent growth for retailers in pharmaceuticals and medical goods, cosmetics and toiletries.

Sales of household furniture, appliances and equipment rose 5.5 percent and other retailers registered a sales growth of 3.5 percent.

On a month-on-month basis, retail sales dropped a seasonally adjusted 0.3 percent in March, though slower than February’s 2.0 percent fall.

In the three months ended in March, retail sales increased 1.9 percent, after a 2.7 percent rise in the preceding three months.

At current prices, annual retail sales growth improved to 5.2 percent in March from 2.8 percent in February.

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