South African retail sales rose by 5.3% year-on-year in December, after increasing by a revised 7.9% in November, data from the statistics office showed on Wednesday.
Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a 4% year-on-year increase in retail sales in December.
On a month-on-month basis, sales were down 2.6% but rose 5.6% in the three months to December compared with the same period last year, Statistics South Africa said.
Stefan Salzer, MD at Boston Consulting Group, suspects that a large part of the Christmas spend will have been pulled forward into November, as a result of aggressive Black Friday deals and promotions.
He goes on to say that overall consumer confidence is returning, on the back of certain factors having improved slightly. “Consequently, we may see discretionary (non-essential/luxury) spending categories benefitting from this confidence.”