S. Africa May Retail Sales Growth Exceeds Forecast

South Africa’s retail sales increased more than economists expected in May, data released by Statistics South Africa showed Wednesday.

Retail sales increased 6.4 percent on an annual basis in May, faster than the 5.2 percent growth economists had forecast. The latest growth rate was sharply faster than 1.1 percent recorded in April, which was revised up from 1 percent.

Sales of textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods were higher by 11 percent compared to May 2011, and sales of hardware, paint and glass by 11.1 percent. There was a 1.7 percent annual gain in retail sales of food, beverages and tobacco in specialized stores in May, data showed.

Month-on-month, retail sales decreased a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent in May, after rising 0.8 percent in the previous month. In the January-May period, sales advanced 5 percent from the corresponding period a year earlier, data showed.

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